Poor planning decision figures blamed on old applications

SBC Headquarters
SBC Headquarters

The council has blamed poor average planning decision times on applications which had been stuck in the system for over a year.

On average it took almost 17 weeks for ‘local’ applications to be decided by the council in 2013/14. For ‘major’ applications it was over a year.

In total, SBC made decisions on 915 applications in the last financial year, eight of which were classed as ‘major’.

The average decision time was 10.6 weeks for local cases and 11.3 weeks for major applications, Scottish Government figures revealed this week.

Defending the planning department’s performance, an SBC spokesman said one of two main measures of performance was the number of applications decided within two months, with SBC sitting just below the Scottish average of 72 per cent.

He added: “The difference in figures underlines the fact that a relatively small number of applications can skew the overall time taken for the determination of all applications when taken as an average.

“The greater proportion of our applications are determined timeously, but there are some longer-standing applications that have affected our overall performance; a challenge we have recognised and are looking to address.”

He said ‘legacy cases’ – applications over a year old – were often held up for reasons outwith the council’s control.

The spokesman added: “There has been a concerted effort to remove legacy cases from the backlog of planning applications in the system.

“In the last year, a total of 169 have been dealt with. The disposal of this number of legacy cases has had a disproportionate influence on last year’s performance figures.”

In the financial year to date, 75 per cent of all applications have been decided within two months.