Communities Secretary Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP has today (Friday 22 June) announced the appointment of Mrs Bridget Rosewell to chair the Independent Review into Planning Appeal Inquiries.
The review has been set up with the aim of reducing the time it takes to determine inquiries established to resolve disputed planning proposals, whilst ensuring quality decision making.
The review will recommend reforms by the end of the year which produce swifter decisions that will get the new homes we need built quicker. In 2017 to 2018, appeal inquiries took an average 44 weeks to complete, which delays housing and other forms of development.
Mrs Rosewell, a qualified economist, has extensive knowledge and experience in the planning sector, including previously acting as an expert witness at planning inquiries. Among her current roles, Mrs Rosewell is a Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission and Chair of Atom Bank.
Communities Secretary Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire MP said:
I am delighted Bridget Rosewell has agreed to lead this review into a key part of our planning system. She brings a wealth of experience to this role and I look forward to receiving her report.
We have been clear that the appeals process must work for both local communities and those taking forward housing schemes, and that involves swift and fair decisions being made to deliver the homes our communities need.
Commenting on her new role, Mrs Rosewell said:
The Planning Inspectorate’s role in arbitrating disputed planning applications is vital, but the current inquiry process is very drawn out.
I’m thrilled to be appointed the Chair of this review and look forward to exploring the real solutions that could speed up and improve the process and give greater certainty to those with an interest in a development or who are affected by it.
As Chair of this Review, Mrs Rosewell will be unpaid.
The full terms of reference for the review have been published on Gov.uk.
The independent Chair will be supported by an Inquiries Review Team of officials in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Planning Inspectorate. The Review expects to issue a Call for Evidence over the summer. It would welcome responses from all those with an interest in speeding up planning appeal inquiries, including developers, local planning authorities, community groups and members of the public and professional advisers involved in the process. The Inquiries Review Team can be contacted at InquiriesReview@communities.gsi.gov.uk.
Last year, public inquiries made up only 2% (282) of all planning appeals (15,742 in total). These inquiries contributed to a disproportionately large number of proposed new homes – some 20,000 dwellings a year.
Approximately 30,000 new homes were granted permission by the Planning Inspectorate through the appeals process last year.
The Planning Inspectorate is the government agency for England and Wales responsible for handling approximately 20,000 pieces of casework a year, including:
- national infrastructure planning
- planning and enforcement appeals
- examinations of local plans
More information about the Inspectorate can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/planning-inspectorate