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Planning Permission Stats

Requested on
Mon 18th June, 2012
Reference
FOI 2049
Resolution
Information provided

Question

I would be obliged if you could respond to my query under the Freedom of Information Act/EIR regarding applications for planning permission in your Authority for the period 1.1.06. to the present day.

Please provide the following information:

· The percentage of Officer recommendations for planning permission turned down by Members.

· The percentage of Officer recommended refused planning permissions that went to appeal.

· The percentage of such Officer recommended refusals that were granted permission upon appeal.

· Of those Officer recommended applications that went to appeal, the percentage that were granted permission:
1. On written representations
2. Via informal hearing
3. Via formal planning inquiry
· Of those applications granted planning permission upon appeal, the percentage that resulted in the Council having to pay the appellant’s costs.
If you are unwilling/unable to calculate the percentages, please just provide the numerical data

Answer

Thank you for your recent information request regarding information on planning permissions.  As the request concerns environmental information the Council has considered it under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

While the information requested is held by the Council in the form of details listed against each individual planning application and in plans committee minutes it is not held in a manner which enables the aggregated data you request to be collated easily.  1218 planning applications were received by Charnwood Borough Council in 2010-11 alone.

Regulation 12(4)(b) provides that a public authority may refuse to disclose information to the extent that the request for information is manifestly unreasonable.  The Information Commissioner is of the view that this exception to the right of access to information applies where it would incur unreasonable costs for the public authority or an unreasonable diversion of resources.

Although there is no set cost or time limits for Environmental Information Regulation requests, we have taken as a baseline the limits set out in the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 which is 18 hours of an officer’s time.  To go through each planning application received since 2006 and check the what was recommended against each application and whether they went to appeal would take longer than 18 hours and would result in an unreasonable diversion of resources.  As a result in the Council has concluded that the request is manifestly unreasonable, and therefore excepted from disclosure under Regulation 12(4)(b).

Under the Environmental Information Regulations all exceptions (excluding those relating to personal data) have to be weighed against the Public Interest Test.

The Information Commissioner has suggested that the factors that would weigh in favour of disclosure would include:

• furthering the understanding of and participation in the public debate of issues of the day.

• promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them.

• promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money.

• allowing individuals and companies to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives and, in some cases, assisting individuals in challenging those decisions.

• bringing to light information affecting public health and public safety.

It is the Council’s view that the second factor would weigh in favour of disclosure, however all planning applications and their decisions are available along with the Plans committee minutes, to view on the Council’s website which would address this factor.

I can provide you with the following appeal statistics -

Since 2006 there have been a total of 261 Planning Appeals.  76 of the appeals were allowed, 155 of the appeals were dismissed, 8 had split decisions and 22 were withdrawn.

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