Welsh government outlines plans to speed up appeal process

The Welsh government has outlined plans to speed up and simplify the decision-making process for appeals and called-in applications including measures to transfer the determination of certain appeals from ministers to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).

Wales: consultation aims to speed up appeals process
Wales: consultation aims to speed up appeals process

The proposals, published today for consultation, affect four areas, including applications and appeals by statutory undertakers, appeals against non-determination and advertising appeals.

The first change is to introduce a speeded-up system for advertisement appeals, introducing an eight-week determination target. Applicants would have 12 weeks to lodge an appeal.

The Welsh government said this would bring advertising appeals in line with new fast-track systems for householder and commercial appeals, which have come into force as part of a pilot scheme.

Secondly, the Welsh government wants called-in applications and appeals by statutory undertakers, such as utilities and telecoms firms, to be dealt with solely by Welsh ministers "unless otherwise directed". Currently, some are handled jointly with the UK secretary of state.

The government says the aim is to "reduce the overall time that it takes for these cases to be determined, and the delay to development and additional cost that this can cause", as well as "remove the duplication in the decision-making process".

The third proposals it to change the process for appealing against non-determination by a local planning authority within the statutory eight weeks. It wants to remove the current six-month time limit for lodging such appeals and to allow councils subject to such appeals to still be able to make decisions within four weeks. If the application is subsequently approved, the appeal can be withdrawn.

Finally, the Welsh government wants to transfer authority for the determination of certain appeals from the Welsh ministers to PINS to "enable decisions to be made in a timelier and more consistent manner". These include appeals relating to listed building consents, historic buildings and ancient monuments, mineral permissions, and hazardous substances. 

Welsh Ministers would, the document says, still be able to recover appeals from PINS if they consider it appropriate to do so.

The consultation document states: "These proposals seek to ensure a more proportionate, cost effective and streamlined decision-making process which meets the needs of applicants and appellants, while improving the processes used by the Planning Inspectorate and the Welsh government."

The consultation is open until January 30. 

Planning and related decisions of the Welsh Ministers

john.geoghegan@haymarket.com


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