A new survey conducted by the Scottish Executive revealed that around 20,000 applications from across Scotland were held up. A large number of people have witnessed delays in the processing of their application in order to get a planning permission for home improvements.
According to the latest figures from the planning audit unit, out of the 32 authorities meant for this purpose only Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Lothian were able to meet the executive's target of dealing with small-scale applications within two months.
Glasgow City Council, Orkney, and Perth and Kinross had the lowest success rates, managing to process only 50% of applications within the two months. Edinburgh City Council with just 61% of cases.
Malcolm Chisholm, communities minister, said that only a small number of planning authorities meet the targets for development management while a significant number of others consistently fail to meet these targets. But the executive's are trying to make the planning system more efficient, effective and simpler.
About 50000 planning applications across the country every year fall under the local development authority. This will shift the burden to the level. But new requirements are necessary to make the production of plans quicker, more predictable, more accessible and responsive to local views.
Local authorities argued about the difficulty in attaining the stringent targets. A Glasgow spokeswoman said that the population is also on the rise and this has to be considered before fixing a target. She said that the next annual planning audit unit report would show a great improvement in our performance to meet the two month target.
Andrew Holmes, director of city development for Edinburgh, said that a planner handles an average of 190 applications a year, some 20% more applications per planner. This task is made even more complex by the 20,000 or so listed buildings in Edinburgh.
He said that they have introduced an Internet portal system where the processing of the application is done online to facilitate the easy submission of the required documents.