Repeat Planning Applications

On 20th May I wrote to the Executive Director of Planning and Borough Development at RBKC to say that it had become common for applicants for planning permission to make applications in rapid succession for the same or a similar development.  This makes it difficult for local people, who cannot be expected to be aware of them all and to write to the Council every time a new application is made.  This is also an unreasonable burden for the Council’s planning staff.

The Director responded “I entirely understand your concern about what often seems like repeated applications designed to confuse; it can be just as confusing for my officers.  In my experience these circumstances arise more from clients constantly changing their minds, or a desire to adjust designs on an ongoing basis rather than applying once it is clear what is required, – than from an intention to confuse.  We have powers to turn away applications (so called decline to determine) where repeat applications follow multiple refusals or dismissed appeals, but those powers do not extend to repeat applications following permissions, nor to situations of overlapping proposals for sites.

In relation to comments from interested parties we cannot transfer comments from one case to another.  Doing so would mean assuming that an individual who made comments on one application still thinks the same in relation to another application.  That would open us up immediately to a likely successful judicial review on the basis we took into account a matter in the decision making process which we should not have done.  That individual may have moved, may no longer object as they have had helpful discussions with the applicant and are now satisfied, or may not object as a minor revision has overcome their concerns.  In short, we have no right to assume and it is the responsibility of those wishing to comment to make representations however frustrating it might be that they have to do so repeatedly.”

Michael Stephen

Planning Committee Chairman

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