Nigel Evans today tackled the Planning Minister, Nick Boles MP, about the financial fears Local Authorities may face in choosing whether or not to contest planning appeals.
The exchange was as below:
Mr Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley):
The Minister will know the intensity of feeling among local people when an application is approved on appeal. Even more worrying is that some local authorities are now rolling over to some applications because they cannot afford the expensive appeal procedure. Will he therefore consider giving extra support to small local authorities that are inundated with planning applications?
Local authorities should be making the decisions that they feel are right for their local communities and that meet their local policies and those in the national planning policy framework. An appeal might be lodged following their refusal of an application, but if they feel that their decision was right in the first place, they will be able to ask for costs against the developer that has submitted the appeal. They should not feel too worried about the cost of fighting an appeal if they are certain that their decision is good in law.
Speaking after leaving the House of Commons, Mr Evans said:
“I do think that it is important that Local Authorities cannot be put under pressure for financial reasons. Contesting an appeal should not be a punitive process and Local Authorities should have the confidence to be able to defend their original decisions without fear of being financially clobbered at the end of it.
“It is not fair to local residents if applications are allowed purely because the Local Authority cannot afford to contest and possibly lose an appeal.”