It is timely that one of our applications was granted listed building consent last week considering it was lodged on 19 June 2020. It is indeed unusual, but not unheard of, for applications to take this long. It is unfortunate that our clients are having to endure such delays and this is having a knock on effect on their ability to obtain contractors and get their building work priced.
The reason for delay is 3 fold; the local authority has received 50% more planning applications than it did the previous year, the number of officers has not increased in line with the rise in applications and there is a communication problem between officers and agents who are desperate for face to face meetings at a time when some authorities will still not permit site visits.
There are too few Conservation Officers, operating from home, dealing with applications across a large geographical area, very often working without all the submitted information. Rather than play the blame game it is time to collaborate more and work towards sorting out the backlog. It is in everyone’s best interests to do so and to this end we have offered to provide basic heritage skills training for our local authority officers.