Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority not meeting ‘planning targets’

By Katy Jenkins   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Tuesday 17th May 2022 3:48 pm
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The time taken to decide planning applications in the National Park is still below target in more than a quarter of cases but is improving.

The planning performance of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) has not yet returned to “pre pandemic performance levels” a report to audit and corporate services review states.

At the meeting on Wednesday (May 11) members heard that of all planning applications determined within the specified time periods is 72.73 per cent, which is below target, but is up from 66.31 per cent for the same period in 2020/21.

The report notes an increase in casework – which is being monitored to determine if it is a longer term trend or a temporary rebound from the pandemic – that is “compounded by staff absences, new staff starting and Covid disruptions.”

The average time taken to determine a planning applications is 117.25 days which is a red rating, and is an increase from 109.75 days last financial year.

Committee members heard that there had been five planning appeals allowed and two applications for costs have been upheld in relation to affordable houses at Buttyland Caravan and Camping Park, Manorbier and alterations to Apple Tree Gallery, Saundersfoot.

The average time to investigate enforcement cases has also increased to 124 days, with 79.46 per cent investigated within 84 days.

More positively, the work programme for countryside management and access has remained “on track” despite the impact of a number of storms that caused widespread damage earlier in the year and an increase of walkers on the coast path and inland.

The performance report adds that around 500m of new hedgerow has been planted, 978 conservation volunteer days were provided in 2021/22, 173 conservation social action days and 193 volunteer days related to wildlife survey and monitoring carried out.

Electric vehicle charging point installation continues despite some global delays on parts, peatland restoration work has been undertaken and 400 new native and pollinator friendly trees planted.

It is also noted that education provision saw 8,143 participants involved and there more than one thousand people taking part in walking for well-being projects.

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