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Public performance reports

Planning and building standards

The Council Plan Connect, outlines our objectives for 2017-22.  Connect ambitions and objectives should not be seen in isolation, they interact with each other and as we achieve success in one, we move closer to success in others.  In delivering our vision to ‘improve the quality of life of everyone in South Lanarkshire’ our ambitions show how our work links with our partners including our Community Planning Partners. 

Each year we produce an Annual Performance Report which details how we have performed in achieving our Connect objectives. To complement the Annual Performance Report we have created a suite of individual Public Performance Reports.  This report outlines the performance in relation to our planning and building standards services and how this links to the outcomes of our ambition to ‘Make communities safer, stronger and sustainable'.

Planning and Building Standards

The future development of the South Lanarkshire area is a key responsibility for the council.  We ensure that development takes place in the right place, at the appropriate time, in a sustainable way and in the best interest of the public.  Planning and Building Standards achieves this by preparing and monitoring development plans, considering planning applications and enforcing planning legislation.  The health, safety and welfare of people in and around these new or existing developments is also vital and this is secured through the assessment of building warrants and certificates of completion in relation to the construction and demolition of buildings and dealing with dangerous structures.

Supply of available land for housing – number of years Target 5 years

What this means This indicator shows the years’ supply of land available for new housing across South Lanarkshire.
Why this matters One of the main responsibilities of the Planning service is to ensure that there is enough housing land available to deliver development within South Lanarkshire.  Supply of land for housing should be maintained, with at least five years’ effective land being available at all times – this is our target. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC  6.2 years 6.7 years 8.5 years Yes
Scotland N/A N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service There was an increase in the supply of land for housing in 2016-17 compared with the previous year, with the number of years’ supply 70% above the 5 year target.  This means that the Planning service is continuing to satisfy its obligation to ensure a sufficient supply of land is available for housing.

 

Number of housing units approved No target set

What this means This indicator identifies how many actual housing units have been granted planning permission across South Lanarkshire.
Why this matters The development of housing is a key part of the economy and can be used as an indicator of an area’s prosperity and attractiveness.  Providing new housing of the right type at the right place can encourage people to locate or stay in the area. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16   2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC

3,638

1,176

 2,981

Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, there was an increase in the number of housing approvals compared to the previous year, demonstrating that the Planning service is continuing to play its part in ensuring a sufficient range and supply of suitable housing available in appropriate locations.

 

Supply of available land for employment – in hectares No target set

What this means This indicator identifies how much land is available for employment development.  This is land that meets business requirements, can be serviced or serviceable within five years, be accessible for walking, cycling and public transport, and has a secure planning status.
Why this matters An adequate supply of available land for employment encourages the development of business in South Lanarkshire, which in turn supports sustainable economic growth and regeneration.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC

123 hectares

 116 hectares

103hectares

No
Scotland  N/A  N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service

The requirement for this measure is not necessarily to increase the supply of available land for employment, but to ensure that a sufficient quantity is available.  In 2016-17, there was a healthy supply of available land for employment across South Lanarkshire.  This equates to a 17 year supply based on current take up rates.

Planning applications approved as a percentage of total number of planning applications received – No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the rate of approval for planning applications as a percentage of total applications received.
Why this matters A high planning application approval rate indicates that planning officers are communicating well with planning applicants before an application is submitted, and throughout the processing stage in order to see applications through to their successful approval.  
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 97.1% 98.3% 98.6%    Yes
Scotland 93.9% 93.8% 94.2%
How we have performed in improving this public service

In 2016-17, 98.6% of planning applications were successfully approved, which is better than in the previous two years and well above the Scottish average of 94.2%. This performance provides a great degree of certainty for developers.

Cost per planning application – No target set

What this means This indicator is a measure of the total cost involved per planning application.
Why this matters  Although spend on planning accounts for a relatively small amount of overall spend, this is a strategically important area in terms of the future development and use of land in our towns, cities and countryside.  An efficient and well-functioning planning service plays an important role in facilitating sustainable economic growth and delivering high quality development in the right places.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC £4,120 £4,888 £3,930    Yes
Scotland £4,251 £4,799 £4,565
How we have performed in improving this public service

The cost per planning application in South Lanarkshire has reduced in 2016-17 as service savings take effect, and is below the Scottish average.

Applications - decision making timescales

Under the relevant legislation, planning applications are categorised as (1) major developments; and (2) local developments.  These different categories allow us to consider developments in a way best suited to their size and complexity.  In 2016-17, we processed 1,470 planning applications for local developments and 16 planning applications for major developments. 

Local developments are further categorised into ‘householder developments’ which include alterations by a householder to their house or garden, and ‘local developments' which are 'non householder’ and which are smaller scale developments like applications relating to shops, offices and the changes of use of land or property. 

Major developments – average number of weeks to decision – No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process planning applications for major developments.
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory four month period in which to deal with a planning application for a major or national development.  However, the complexities of these types of planning applications can mean that this timescale is not met.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 75.9 weeks 45.4 weeks 48.6 weeks No
Scotland  46.4 weeks 37.8 weeks 37.1 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, the average timescale for processing major planning applications was longer than in 2015-16.  The reason for this is that in 2016-17, a number of long standing, large scale housing developments were approved, including a major community growth area at Larkhall.  The nature and complexity of some of these housing applications resulted in longer determination times, with a subsequent impact on overall major application processing times.

Local developments (householder) – average number of weeks to decision –  No target set

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process the planning applications for householder developments.
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory two month period in which to deal with a local planning application.
  Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
Our performance and how we compare SLC 7.3 weeks 7.7 weeks 5.3 weeks Yes
Scotland 7.5 weeks 7.5 weeks 7.3 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service There was a significant reduction in the average decision-making time for planning applications for householder developments, from 7.7 weeks in 2015-16 to 5.3 weeks in 2016-17.  This 31.1% improvement has resulted from the review of our planning processes, which has: put greater focus on encouraging pre-application discussions with developers; encouraged officers to manage their workload timeously; and introduced regular caseload reviews.

Local developments (non-householder) – average number of weeks to decision – No target set 

What this means This indicator sets out the average time taken by the Planning service to process the planning applications for local developments (non-householder).
Why this matters This indicator measures the efficiency of the council’s planning application process.  The Planning service has a statutory two month period in which to deal with a local planning application.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 14.9 weeks 16.3 weeks 11.2 weeks Yes
Scotland 12.9 weeks 12.3 weeks 11.1 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service

There was a large decrease in the average decision-making time for planning applications for local (non-householder) developments, from 16.3 weeks in 2015-16 to 11.2 weeks in 2016-17.  This 31.2% improvement has resulted from the review of our planning processes as described above.

Business and Industry (local) – average number of weeks to decision – No target set

What this means This indicator is a measure of the average time taken to deliver a commercial planning application decision.
   
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 11.5 weeks 10.3 weeks 9.9 weeks Yes
Scotland 11.0 weeks 11.2 weeks 9.3 weeks
How we have performed in improving this public service

In 2016-17, the overall average timescale for processing business and industry applications was quicker than in 2015-16, but longer than the Scottish average.

Enforcement action

Number of breaches of planning legislation identified/resolved – No target set

What this means The Planning service monitors the number of breaches of planning legislation reported and the number of these cases that are resolved.  Where a breach of planning legislation is identified, the Planning service will attempt to respond to this without having to take formal action - either by having the owner agree to ‘undo’ the work or by asking them to submit a retrospective application for works which can be approved. 
Why this matters The activity outlined below shows that the Planning service is using its enforcement powers to make sure that everyone stays within planning law and the conditions of their planning permission. 
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC

207 identified

97 resolved

208 identified

125 resolved

 Yes
Scotland   N/A     N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, there has been a very slight increase in the number of breaches of planning legislation, and a bigger increase in the number of cases resolved.  208 breaches of planning legislation were identified and 125 cases were resolved by the Planning service.  The proportion of resolved cases is higher than in the previous year and the service continues to work with landowners to resolve breaches.

Building warrants - response times

Percentage of the requests for building warrants responded to within 15 days, medium risk - Target 80%  

What this means

A building warrant is a legal procedure that must be followed. This is to make sure that any proposed building work meets current building regulations.  The following results show the percentage of applications assessed for compliance with building warrant regulation requirements within the 15 day target.

Why this matters When our Building Standards service grants permission for work to be done, it issues a building warrant. This indicator shows how efficiently the Building Standards service administers the building warrant process, with the service aiming to reduce the average time it takes for customers to obtain a building warrant.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 97% 98% 95% No
Scotland N/A N/A  N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, we responded to 95% of requests for building warrants within 15 days.  This is slightly lower than our performance in the previous year, but considerably higher than our annual target of 80%.  Overall performance remains high for this indicator.

Certificate completions - response times

Percentage of requests for completion certificates responded to within three working days -  Target 95%

What this means

The certificate of completion states that the applicant has carried out work in accordance with the building warrant and approved plans.  The following indicator shows the percentage of completion certificate submissions which the Building Standards service responded to within three working days. 

Why this matters This indicator shows how efficiently our Building Standards service administers the completion certificate process which includes inspection of work and acceptance of completion certificates.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 91% 92% 88% No
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, we responded to 88% of requests for completion certificates within three working days.  This is slightly lower than our performance in the previous year, and below our annual target of 95%.

Customer satisfaction

Percentage satisfaction with the Planning Service -  Target 73%

What this means

The Planning service undertakes a customer satisfaction survey throughout the year.  This questionnaire is issued to planning applicants and agents appointed by planning applicants (including consultants and architectural firms).

Why this matters As well as measuring the efficiency of the planning application process, it is also important to know how satisfied people are with the quality of the Planning service.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 100% 93% 90% No
Scotland N/A  N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, 90% of applicants and agents rated the overall quality of the service as either good or excellent.  This is lower than the previous year, but higher than the service’s own target.

Percentage satisfaction with the Buildings Standards service -  Target 87%

What this means The Building Standards service also undertakes its own customer satisfaction survey throughout the year.  This questionnaire is issued to building warrant applicants and the agents appointed by these applicants (including consultants and architectural firms).
Why this matters As with the above indicator, this indicator is a measure of the quality of our Building Standards service.
Our performance and how we compare Comparator 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Are we improving?
SLC 95% 85% 92% Yes
Scotland N/A N/A N/A
How we have performed in improving this public service In 2016-17, 92% of agents rated the overall quality of the service as either good or excellent.  This is higher than the previous year and the service’s own target.

Areas for improvement and action

We will take forward the following key areas for improvement:

  • further improve the timescales for decisions on planning applications, by identifying improvements to the planning process and using new techniques to assist planning officers case manage workloads

Further information

South Lanarkshire Council Local Development Plan

The existing South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan  (SLLDP) was adopted by the council on 29 June 2015 and contains the planning policies which provide the basis for assessing and determining planning applications, and ensuring that the amount of land needed to deliver housing, employment and other types of development within South Lanarkshire is identified.

This plan is now being reviewed, and extensive public consultation has been carried out as part of this process.  It is likely that a proposed South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan 2 (SLDP2) will be presented to committee in spring 2018 and made publicly available for comment afterwards.   Any feedback received during this period will be considered by the council.  The Plan will then be submitted to Scottish Ministers, with an expected completion date towards the end of 2019.

Planning Performance Framework

The service also prepares an annual service improvement plan - Planning Performance Framework which is submitted to the Scottish Government. This details how our Planning service is performing, including:
• speed of decision-making
• certainty of timescales, process and advice
• delivery of good quality development
• project management
• clear communications and open engagement
The framework measures the quality of our Planning service and is used to identify and encourage ongoing improvements.  Feedback from the Scottish Government on the council’s Planning Performance Framework 2016-17 has been provided and highlights that our Planning service is performing well for 12 of the 15 indicators against which the service is measured, with three areas requiring some minor improvement.

Planning Performance Statistics

In addition to the above, a range of other performance results in respect of planning applications are reported to the Scottish Government on a quarterly basis by our Planning service.  This comprehensive suite of Planning Authority Performance Statistics can be viewed on the Scottish Government website. 

Resource Plans are prepared each year by all council Resources to outline the key developments they intend to take forward in the year.  Performance and actions relating to economic development and regeneration can be found in the Community and Enterprise Resource Plan.

Twice a year, performance reports are presented to council committees on progress against the Resource Plans. In addition, reports detailing progress against the Council Plan Connect objectives are prepared – see Quarter 2 and Quarter 4 performance reports for further information. More information on our objectives can be found in the Council Plan Connect and also the Annual Performance Report.

The information contained within this report reflects the position based on the data available at the time of publication (March 2018)