The county council has seen a stark turnaround in terms of the number of planning applications being overturned on appeal in recent months.
In a report to Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee, head of planning service, Mark Ketley, writes: ‘Significant improvements have recently been made to ensure consistency of decision-making throughout the development management service.
‘During the final two quarters of 2015/16, a total of 39 appeals in Northumberland were determined by the Planning Inspectorate of which 19 (49 per cent) were allowed or approved.
‘In other words, the Planning Inspectorate overturned the council’s decision to refuse those applications in almost half of the cases considered.
‘In contrast, during the first quarter of 2016/17, there have been 18 appeal decisions in Northumberland, of which 17 (94 per cent) have been dismissed or refused.
‘Only one appeal has been allowed (approved) during the first three months of 2016/17, which represents a significant turnaround in the quality of the council’s decision-making during this period.
‘It is recognised, however, that continued monitoring of decisions is necessary by the Planning Services management team to ensure that recent standards are maintained.’
A separate report detailing how quickly planning applications are dealt with shows that in the first quarter of 2016/17, the number of applications determined within the required timescale is comfortably above the target and in line with last year’s performance in all five of the categories – major, minor, other, householder and county matters.