Mendip achieved the second highest score possible, reflecting positively on the work of the council’s officers and Planning Board and putting the council up there among the best authorities in the country.
Every year the government measures the quality of the planning decisions made by each council and the speed of these decisions. Each council is required to exceed a prescribed standard over the previous two years, or it is designated poorly performing, placed in special measures and is then the subject of government intervention.
Where an applicant is unhappy at a decision made by a council they can appeal the decision and a government inspector will then assess the application. Where the inspector believes the council has made an incorrect decision he can overturn it. A high number of overturns indicates that the quality of a council’s decisions are poor.
The government figures show that only 1% of Mendip’s major planning decisions have been overturned at appeal.
Councillor Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, Portfolio Holder Built Environment, said: “The council has always been committed to making high-quality planning decisions for the good of the Mendip’s residents.
“That only 1% of our major planning decisions have been successfully challenged confirms that we are getting this right and are performing well.”
Following key changes to the way it delivers its planning service, which were implemented earlier this year, the council is also making decisions more quickly than in previous years.
This was the second area looked at by government, and resulted in Mendip climbing an impressive 65 places in the national tables for speed of decision making on major applications compared to this time last year.
Councillor Tom Killen, Portfolio Holder for Business Development and Growth and Deputy Leader of Mendip District Council, said: “We listened to what businesses told us and earlier this year began implementing a raft of improvements in our planning service to speed up decision making, while ensuring we maintained the quality of our decisions.
“The improvements included introducing a new pre-application advice service to discuss customers’ applications with them before they are submitted, and the introduction of new targets aimed at letting customers know if their proposals are acceptable at the earliest opportunity.
“Although our changes are only recent, these actions have already had a positive impact on our performance, showing that we made the right choices. There is still a need for improvement but once fully embedded we are confident these changes will show even greater improvement in speed across the whole range of planning decisions the council makes.”
To see the relevant tables (P151 and P152) go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-planning-application-statistics