[C]OPELAND Council has one of the best performing planning departments in the country, according to end-of-year figures.
The council had one of the highest rates of planning application approval nationally in 2017/18, with over 98 per cent of applications received given the go-ahead.
It is also one of the top performing planning authorities for the speed in which it determines applications, and has successfully defended 80 per cent of appeals against its decisions in the last 12 months.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “As a council, we’re focused on growth, so this is an outstanding achievement for the team and puts Copeland among the elite planning authorities in the country.
“The team has not only achieved government-set targets for the speed in which it makes decisions, but they have surpassed these targets by a considerable margin. Additionally, the fact that only one appeal has been allowed shows that when our planners make a decision, it is the correct one.
“The fact that we’re able to pass so many of the applications we receive is testament to the work that goes on at the pre-application stage, in which our team works diligently with applicants to address issues ahead of the application being made.”
The council currently offers a pre-application service without any charge. The end-of-year report presented to councillors last week shows:
- 100 per cent (13 out of 13) of ‘major’ planning applications, including large housing estates and office space, determined within a 13-week deadline (65 per cent target)
- 96 per cent (314 out of 326) of ‘minor’ and ‘other’ planning applications, including smaller housing estates, non-major office/retail space and domestic alterations, determined within an eight-week deadline (80 per cent target)
- 80 per cent (four out of five) planning appeals dismissed
Councillor Mike McVeigh, Chair of the Planning Panel, added: “When you consider the complex and high-profile nature of a lot of the applications we have processed this year, these figures are a remarkable achievement.
“This high performance is complemented by a focus on high quality development, befitting our unique physical and built environment.”