Rocketing rates of approvals by Rugby Borough Council planners

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THE percentage of planning applications approved in Rugby has rocketed in recent years, according to a new report.

Officials and councillors turned down one in 20 applications - about five per cent - in the 12 months from April 2011

Just two years previously, 18 per cent, about one in five, was refused.

And according to Rugby Borough Council’s head of planning and culture, Anna Rose, the report shows the authority is doing its job better.

She said: “This suggests a greater resolution of contentious applications and would suggest, therefore, increased customer satisfaction.

“It is important to remember that these decisions are, generally speaking, by the same set of planners, so standards haven’t been dropped to get these results.”

The number of complaints against the council’s planning department has also fallen sharply. Nine were logged in 2011-12, down from 11 the previous year and from 47 in 2009-10.

And more are complimenting the service provided, too. Officials and councillors received 27 compliments in 2011-12 - up from 22 the previous year. The figure in 2007-9 was 13.

But the department is taking longer to deal with applications. Its ‘end-to-end’ time - defined as the time between an individual initially contacting officials and not needing any further approvals - was 97.6 days in September, up from 85 days in September last year.

Ms Rose believes the longer time is due to there being four fewer planners in the department - a fall of 30 per cent.

The report, drawn up by the department, was due to be discussed at a meeting of the borough council’s planning commitee last night (Wednesday).