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Tuesday 16 May 2023

Epsom and Ewell Council is denying it’s falling behind planning targets, as it faces having some powers taken away.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has written to them, saying that they should be determining 70% of non-major planning applications within eight weeks.

However, the council says that over the past year, they’ve been routinely above 90%, and his figures take into account issues over lockdown.

It adds that they had capacity issues in 2020 and 2021, and recruited a new management team in early 2022 to address this.

A statement from Jackie King, Chief Executive of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, along with 9 other local authorities, have received a letter from the Secretary of State for Levelling up Housing & Communities confirming that he is concerned that the Council’s performance on Minor and Other planning applications fell short of expectations between October 2020 and September 2022.

 The Council has been fully aware of this historic issue relating to performance over that period, which was a result of Covid and capacity-related issues. Having acknowledged the issues, the Council took swift decisive action to address issues, resulting in the recruitment of a new management team in early 2022, the securing of additional staffing resourcing within the department as well as investing in IT and improved ways of working.  Additional process reviews and follow on improvements were identified and implemented.  All actions and process improvements have the full support of members.  

 As a result of the Council’s actions, performance on planning applications has improved rapidly and significantly. 

 Since early 2022, the Council has continued to determine well over 90% of planning applications within the statutory timescale target, compared to the government threshold of 70%. 

 Epsom & Ewell Borough Council have demonstrated a sustained improvement in service and performance and have been in regular contact with officials at DLUHC over the past year to keep them up to date with the progress which the Council has made. 

 When the Minister reviews Epsom & Ewell’s performance again in June, the Council will be able show five successive quarters of performance well above the 70% target: 

 • APR/MAY/JUN 2022 – 95%

JUL/AUG/SEP 2022 – 92%

OCT/NOV/DEC 2022 – 94%

JAN/FEB/MAR 2023 – 96%

APR/MAY/JUN 2023 – 97% (to date)

 Once reviewed we are hopeful that the Minister will acknowledge and recognise that the issues the Council faced were historic and temporary in nature and this council has taken significant proactive steps to address and improve.  

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 3:00 pm  

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