Agenda item

Planning Annual Performance Report

Scrutiny of the annual performance report prior to submission to Welsh Government.


Cabinet Member Paul Griffiths and Craig O’Connor introduced the report, Philip Thomas delivered a presentation, and they answered the members’ questions with Amy Longford and Andrew Jones.

Questions from committee members:

·        How was the backlog in enforcement overcome?

·        What does the percentage of affordable houses given on p6 equate to? Are we expecting more in 23/24?

·        What were the £110k consultancy fees used on?

·        Does the council use ‘lean principles’ to look at processes and determine waste?

·        The Planning committee is mentioned as a consultee – did the report go to that committee?

·        Is there a mistake on p28, with the number of applications received for this year being less than the number determined?

·        Is the table on p31 showing a £2.1m uplift reflecting the RLDP value?

·        Does the joint heritage service represent value for money? Do we receive sufficient funds from Blaenau Gwent to cover costs? Does it take away from valuable work in Monmouthshire?

·        Could members have a list of all S106 projects that have benefitted from funding in the last year? – Share list and info – ACTION

·        How will the Building At Risk strategy be expedited, and when will it be ready?

·        How do officers ensure that they get the balance right between applying the law but allowing development of heritage buildings?

·        How accurate is the collation of Planning’s data and what are our quality assurances?

·        How are we securing the best possible scheme for securing outcomes and can we have some detail and context? Have we approached academic institutions to develop those?

·        Has the Planning function been fundamentally reviewed and what guarantees can be given that if there were an inspection by Audit Wales or similar we wouldn’t be found severely wanting?

·        Is the Welsh Government likely to introduce comparative data in future years?

·        Are we sure that the phosphate stripping in Monmouth and Llanfoist will be adequate for future demand?

·        Is the proportion of planning applications approved a valid measure of performance? How confident are we that approvals are in line with planning policy?

·        Enforcement performance is low, with anecdotal reports of our failure to address continued breaches – does this potentially encourage others to breach regulations?

·        Is digitising microfiche cost-effective, considering the staff hours required to digitise vs how often it’s requested?

·        Can the £84m to the local economy be promoted, especially with businesses?

·        Is it possible to have a hyperlink that goes directly to the application?

·        Is the relatively small number of appeals due to good engagement with applicants?

·        The council lost 4 appeals – was that against big developers with big teams? What about appeals from local residents?

·        What cost are we incurring in appeals?

·        We need to ensure that we build back up the confidence lost in some residents due to the poor performance of 290 days for a positive enforcement action

·        Do we prioritise major applications over general ones? If so, is there a good value in prioritising the larger ones?

·        The inclusion of ‘opportunities moving forward’ is very welcome in the report, and is recommended to other services in their performance reports

·        Would it be a good idea to involve a planning officer from another authority to oversee the performance assessment, in order to make it as robust and objective as possible? – something officers can take away (Action? [Craig])

·        The report’s preface references wok being done ‘in a timely manner’, which seems to jar against the 290 days before a positive enforcement action – can they both be correct? Does the inclusion of this line undermine the report’s objectivity?

Chair’s Summary:

The report was moved and recommendation approved.


Supporting documents: