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Planning determinations exceed Government targets during lockdown

Published: Tuesday, 19th May 2020

Planning officers at Birmingham City Council are exceeding Government targets with more than 1,000 determinations made since lockdown began.

Latest figures have shown that despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic, officers working from home are performing above the targets set by Government for major, minor and ‘other’ applications.

The statistics also show a significant improvement over the past six months, when the figures from September 2019 showed the council performing below the determination targets in two of the three areas.

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward said: “It’s absolutely vital that planning applications continue to be processed, so that projects can continue without delay when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Birmingham's economy must be ready to bounce back as we look to protect jobs and construction projects will play a big part in our recovery.

“The Planning team deserve huge credit for overcoming the complex challenges of working from home to improve the determination rates and for maintaining that improvement."

In helping to determine planning applications, the council exercised its extraordinary powers for the first time which allowed the chief planning officer and chairman of the planning committee to make decisions on behalf of the committee. This was prior to the formation of the virtual planning committee, which has now replaced the face-to-face meetings.

Cllr Karen McCarthy, Chair of the Planning Committee said: “Despite all the challenges officers have faced, the Committee and I are grateful for the hard work and commitment shown in making sure that the planning service continues in these unprecedented times”.

Back in September, Birmingham achieved a 64 percent determination rate for major applications compared to a Government target of 60 percent. However, in March this rose to 85 percent.

For minor applications, where the Government target is 65 percent, Birmingham was performing at 64 percent in September compared to 79 percent in March.

In September, the performance rate for ‘others’ was 70 percent compared to a target of 80 percent. This increased to 88 percent in March.

The figures of out-of-date core planning applications has also improved during lockdown, with just 196 in April compared to 446 in September last year.

 

Notes to Editors

For more information on planning applications, visit www.birmingham.gov.uk