Graham Lang attended the DPEA Stakeholders’ Forum today at Callendar House, Falkirk on behalf of SAS. The meeting received an update from the Director and Chief Reporter Lindsey Nicoll on statistical data for the period April 2015 to March 2016
Reporters have dealt with 29 multiple turbine appeals and allowed 13 and with 32 single turbine appeals and allowed 21. There are 13 Section 36 applications pending. .
They have 20 reporters on their books and 19 self employed reporters to call on.
The recent Report on the Independent Review of the Scottish Planning System was discussed although most delegates had only glanced at it. Graham’s view on a very quick read through is that the first half of the report is an outline of ambitious plans to deliver development and the second half outlines the constraints that will limit progress. The constraints are largely at local authority level where budget cuts have seen officer number fall and recruitment fail to attract suitably qualified planners.
The Scottish Government is seeking to reduce the DPEA budget by 15% which will impact on the standard of service they deliver and a backlog of cases will build up. The Government Minister Keith Brown may have to consider whether to amend targets, prioritise some cases, or allow the DPEA to charge fees to appellants.
Graham raised the Corlic Hill Decision with The Director but she declined to comment as the period for a legal challenge has not passed. The decision to allow the appeal has outraged councillors and campaigners alike in Inverclyde and further afield.
Finally, everyone gave their good wishes to Lyndsey for her retirement in August. She has always been most courteous and helpful in dealing with any issues SAS has raised on behalf of Members.