£200k planning inquiry fee for Derbyshire council

ndet 96274 Winsick Housing Complaint. Jim Hughes (left), and Philip Ward.
ndet 96274 Winsick Housing Complaint. Jim Hughes (left), and Philip Ward.

A council was ordered to pay £228,000 in compensation from planning inquiries last year – because it failed to create a Local Plan.

In figures obtained by the Derbyshire Times under the Freedom of Information Act, it is revealed that North East Derbyshire District Council were ordered to pay £170,009 in compensation in 2013/14, with £58,382 on legal fees.

From the years 2008 to 2013 the total spend on planning inquries was just £111,703.

The figure relates to an inquiry from January into planning for 160 houses on land to the rear of Mansfield Road in Winsick after it was refused my the council’s planning committee.

An appeal by Hallam Land Management was upheld at a public inquiry, and the council ordered to fork out by the planning inspectorate.

In a statement appealing for costs, Robert Moore, for Hallam Land Management, said: “The council has failed to bring forward an up to date plan and dragged its heels so dramatically that nigh on 10 years after the advent of the new Local Plan system, no plan is even in draft form.”

A planning inspectorate spokesperson, said: “A Local Plan identifies housing need and where development should take place, and where it shouldn’t. If there’s not a local plan in place then the authority will find it difficult to say they wouldn’t want a development.”

A council spokesperson said the compensation figure is still being negotiated.

He added: “Progress on preparing a new Local Plan for North East Derbyshire is underway, but has been affected in recent years by changes to national legislation and the removal of the regional tier of Government. The Council is committed to producing its new Local Plan at the earliest opportunity.

“The planning committee at NEDDC make all planning decisions based on the merits of the case before them.”

Jim Hughes, of Mansfield Road, who opposed the development, said: “It seems like an excessive amount of money.

“It adds insult to injury.”