Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 26 August 2022
THE REASONING behind a delay in planning applications taking longer than usual to be reviewed has been revealed by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC).
The Hinckley Free Press have recently received a number of reports from both planning agents and architects alike over their planning applications being lodged with the Borough Council, but not hearing a quick response back on them.
In fact, one applicant who approached us was left waiting for a decision on their application from April, meaning they had been waiting for four months. Their plan was only recently ‘granted’ after they ruled out an extended decision deadline.
Even national pub chain, JD Wetherspoon, told the us that they had been hit by the delays, as no decision has yet been made on their planned pub in The Crescent.
A Wetherspoon spokesperson, said: “As far as we are concerned there is no valid excuse why the council have been so slow to make a decision.
Their architect added: “We have now had correspondence with the planning officer who has again apologised for the delay with this application. We now expect a decision within the next 14 days.”
It has been believed for a while that planning applications are being outsourced to other local planning departments in the area.
And, it is also thought that there are ‘a lack of officers’ working inside the planning department at this moment in time.
A Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) spokesperson has stated that there are ‘significant’ capacity issues in the planning department, and confirmed that there has indeed been a loss of professional planners.
They said: “The Council has experienced significant capacity issues over the past 12 months within the Planning Service, linked to the loss of a number of professional planners and difficulties in recruiting to vacant positions. This issue is reflected nationally and has been flagged by the LGA and RTPI.
“We apologise for the delays applicants are currently experiencing. We have been endeavouring to recruit to a number of vacant planning posts for some months, even using a specialist planning recruitment agency to attract suitable experienced candidates.
“Until then, we are doing everything we can in the short term to assess applications including recruiting specialist interim planning officers to cover posts until permanent staff can be recruited.”