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Planning Update for Local Authorities

What impact could a decision to suspend pre-application planning services have on local authorities in the future?

Planning specialist, Chrisa Tsompani, summarises the recent Court of Appeal case:

"A decision to suspend pre-application planning services due to resource and financial limitations may lead to costs awards against local planning authorities in the future. This was the case in the appeal by Leatherhead 20 Limited against Mole Valley District Council (Reference: APP/C3620/W/22/3313897). An inspector made a partial award of costs against Mole Valley District Council, even though the District Council won the appeal.

Mole Valley used to operate a pre-application service, which the Council suspended for financial reasons. The inspector found that the Council’s resourcing matter is not a matter for the appellant, who sought an effective, positive and pro-active approach at an early stage. If the service still existed, the Council would have raised concerns at an early stage and the applicants would have amended the scheme appropriately. This, to the planning inspector’s view, following the guidance on costs applications provided by the Planning Practice Guidance, amounted to unreasonable behaviour, which resulted in unnecessary or wasted expense.’’

Chrisa Tsompani is a planning partner at Davitt Jones Bould. She is highly experienced in complex planning and environmental issues, having advised on planning and highway agreements, Biodiversity Net Gain, development control, enforcement, planning policy, s106 and s111 agreements as well as compulsory purchase orders to name a few.   



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