Falkirk Council to tackle build delays

Delays between planning permission being granted and building work starting is a concern
Delays between planning permission being granted and building work starting is a concern

House builders will be warned they will have to complete the paperwork or risk having their planning permission refused.

Because of the time it is taking for applications granted by Falkirk Council’s planning committee being legally signed off to allow building to start is too long, a crackdown is on the way.

Members of Falkirk Council’s planning committee have been told some outstanding applications date back to 2004.

During the recession, town hall planners were reluctant to recommend refusal because of a lack of progress, but the Scottish Government wants local authorities to maintain “an appropriate” timescale for decisions and increased fees for those that fail to meet the deadline.

Now John Angell, the council’s head of planning, has outlined the way ahead.

He told councillors: “Limited or no progress is being made with some planning applications for housing which the committee or officers decided some time ago as being minded to grant subject to legal agreements. We have been reminded of the importance of removing legacy cases from the system by the government’s chief planner, and while this council has actively managed its older cases and reduced their number considerably, circumstances have now changed and it is recommended a more robust approach is adopted.”

To avoid delays in the future Mr Angell suggested future applications where the legal agreement has not been signed within six months of the ‘minded to grant’ decision being notified to the applicant should be refused.

He also recommeded that a number of long-standing planning bids still to be ‘signed off’ should be cancelled before the end of the summer, but the committee agreed to give them some more time.

Convener Baillie Billy Buchanan said: “I can see the need for some people to be geed up a bit.”