Philip Dunne needs to do more research before writing about planning

I’ve been able to do more research since I last wrote about this topic.

In his Westminster column in the South Shropshire Journal on 6 June, Ludlow MP Philip Dunne pledged to argue for controversial planning applications to be decided by ministers when they conflict with Shropshire’s SAMDev housing plan.

I was doubtful about the tactic of involving ministers when I wrote before, and I am more so now that I have been able to crunch some numbers.

Most planning appeals are decided by the planning inspectorate, which approves less than one in three housing appeals (29%). A small number of appeals are ‘recovered’ for decision by the secretary of state, usually because they are large, controversial or in the green belt. In the last twelve months, Eric Pickles has rejected 11 housing schemes and approved 27.

So if a housing scheme is decided by the planning inspectorate, there is just a one in three chance of the appeal being successful. If it is decided by ministers, it has better than two in three chance of getting approved.

That to me is a case for not asking minister to intervene in appeals that breach SAMDev. It would be better to leave decisions to the planning inspectorate.