Application Types Too Difficult for Local Councils to Approve #NPPF #UKhousing

A clear failure of local planning has been in those types of cases where something needs to be provided as a public service but it becomes politically impossible to approve the application.  Indeed some types of application seems to have a near 100% local refusal rate even where the local council itself is proposing the scheme.

Top of the list would be Gypsy and Traveller Sites and Incinerators.

I have worried about the best means of sealing with these over the years but I worry no more.  A solution has been found for the latter and it can easily be applied to the former.

The solution is a PPP deal with private sector waste providers who are contractually obliged to obtain planning consent and build.  Naturally the bidders dont want to apply for planning consent and then see it turned down despite an officer recommendation for approval in line with waste policy.

This approach is being used up and down the country and now we are seeing a steady stream of appeal decisions including some call ins – in places such as Shrewsbury and Shepsted.

These have of course been controversial with cmapiagners expressing outrage that councils are paying for appeals against their own refusal.  But put it another way, councils are simply paying to put their money where there mouth is and pay to uphold their own policy.  It is a form of insurance against cases where the disfunctional playing to the gallery weakness of the planning committee system operates.

This is not to state that in any one of these cases this is the best waste solution.  But if the local council has decided democratically on a waste solution then it should be followed through.

So if this approach works (in terms of delivering strategy) for waste why not apply it to that other famously dysfunctional category of applications, Gypsys and Travellers.  Lets imagine some future government reinstated the policy of requiring site provision.  And in a parallel to the landfill tax withdrew huge sections of support grant if not delivered.  Councils could then let out contracts to RSLs and other to provide those sites with the Councils forced to cover any appeal costs.

We already have experience that it would work.


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