Cabinet Member investigates the “mammoth” planning task

Release Date: 16 October 2017

The Cabinet Member for Planning and Strategic Development spent a day with the Council’s Planning Department last week – understanding how the service works and the pressures on future delivery.

As part of a programme of Cabinet Members 'going back to the floor', Cllr Martin Seymour spent half a day with the Planning Department last week, learning more about the Development Management section that are responsible for processing more than 5,000 planning applications and 200 associated appeals each year.

Cllr Seymour met with members of the Planning Team to understand how applications are handled, what happens once they are submitted and the subsequent appeal process. He also shadowed a review meeting, where officers review current application submissions.

The Development Management section is also responsible for Enforcement. They have to investigate around 800 alleged breaches a year, where a developer or builder may have failed to comply with planning regulations. 

As part of the visit, Cllr Seymour went out with officers to look at two enforcement case sites to discuss and understand the process in which each situation is resolved. 

Following the visit, Cllr Seymour said:

“Whilst Richmond upon Thames is a relatively small borough, we receive a very high number of planning applications every year – the task to process each one is mammoth. The majority of applications are for house extensions, including loft conversations and commercial developments.

“Our Planning Officers have to process each one – looking closely at the proposals and any local or neighbour impact. Added to this, they have to consider all the local Planning policy that has been designed to protect the beauty and heritage of the borough – such as the new Village Plans. It is quite a task and the team work very hard to process each application as swiftly as possible

“Planning is certainly a sensitive issue in this borough. I am reassured by my visit that each of the officers present great local knowledge, dedication and commitment. The team work hard to ensure that the level of development in Richmond is balanced with the need to protect the character of our borough whilst encouraging local regeneration, additional housing and inward investment.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Lyle Skipsey on 020 8487 5182. 

Reference: P480/17

Updated: 31 October 2017