Planning team is building on success

Our planning team is celebrating success despite facing a range of changes and challenges through COVID.   

Latest figures show the team achieved significant improvements in the speed and impact of the service provided to residents, local businesses, builders, developers, and the architects and legal professionals who work with them.

Increase in planning applications 

3,761 planning applications were received last year, an increase of 271 (7.76%) on the previous financial year. This figure is higher than pre-COVID levels. 

The major increase in applications received was householder planning and lawful development certificates. This is likely to be a consequence of continued working from home and residents adapting existing property rather than moving to a larger home. 

Speedier service is above government standards

In response the service improved the speed of determining applications for major developments and householder applications. Performance in both areas has improved year-on-year in the last two years, is above target and well above government minimum standards.  

Improved communication with applicants and the development of our pre-planning advice services has also meant that the percentage of major planning application decisions that are overturned at appeal fell last year. 

More successful planning applications

On major planning applications performance was above target, better than the average for England and well above government minimum standards. In the last year we had just one major decision overturned at appeal across 329 decisions taken. 

We have also halved the percentage of decisions on household and small development applications overturned in the past two years. While performance here is also well above government minimum standards, it was slightly below our own targets.  

Supporting regeneration in the city

Chair of the Planning Committee councillor Leo Littman said:  “It is good to see that we are continuing to support the swift delivery of the sorts of major developments which are essential for the revitalisation and regeneration of our city. We need these projects to futureproof Brighton and Hove, while simultaneously helping us tackle the ongoing housing crisis.  

“Equally important are the minor and householder developments, which directly touch the lives of so many residents and businesses-owners. Determining these applications speedily is also vital, and it is a credit to the hard work of our planning officers that, unlike many neighbouring councils, our level of service has been maintained and in fact improved in terms of performance over the last few years.

Bound by national policy

“We will continue to strive for further improvements going forward. However, it must be noted that decisions made by officers and Committee members sit within the context of the Government’s housing targets and the National Planning Policy Framework. These severely limit our freedom to pursue planning objectives which we feel would be of the greatest benefit to local people and businesses. 

“We understand that there can be frustrations in terms of planning permissions. We often share these frustrations. Like all local authorities, we are often handtied by national policy.  

Congratulations to the team

“Nonetheless, we will continue to target our planning and building regulation services at providing the maximum long-term benefit for the whole city.  

“I would like to end by thanking and congratulating our team for these performance figures. They show that all that their hard work is paying off. Thanks too to our partners who have helped us achieve these outstanding results.”