Body:The City of Edinburgh Council
Outcome:Some upheld, recommendations
Subject:handling of application (complaints by opponents)
Mr C complained about the council's handling of a planning application. In particular that the council had failed to consider their waterside development policy (policy Des 9), had failed to consult with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and had unreasonably accepted that works for the planning application were initiated on time. Mr C also complained about the council's communication with him.
We took independent planning advice. We found that that policy Des 9 should have been referred to in the report of handling (a report containing information on a planning application). It was not possible to know whether this policy had been taken into consideration during the processing of the planning application, as was required. We also found that it was not possible to say whether consideration of policy Des 9 would have resulted in a different outcome. We upheld this aspect of the complaint.
We also found that SEPA should have been consulted and we upheld this aspect of the complaint.
We did not find any evidence that the council had unreasonably accepted that works for the planning application were initiated on time and we did not uphold this part of the complaint.
Regarding communication, we found that some of the issues raised by Mr C had been not been adequately addressed, however, other issues raised by him had been reasonably clarified. We were concerned that a further response letter had had to be issued to Mr C. The council had accepted that there had been a delay in responding and that Mr C should not have had to submit a formal complaint to prompt a full response to his enquiries. We upheld this aspect of the complaint.
What we said should change to put things right in future:
- Development plan policies relevant to the processing of any particular application should be referenced in the report of handling.
- Where a statutory consultation appears to be required as part of the processing of a planning application, but has not taken place, this should be explained in the report of handling.