The Planning Inspectorate’s annual report has revealed that they failed to meet six out of nine of its key planning and enforcement casework targets in 2017/18. The damning report also describes its performance as “unacceptable” for many customers.

Although there was an improvement in timescale performance when compared to 2016/17, the latest annual report and accounts, published this morning, also show lengthening average handling times for four out of six types of casework compared to the previous year.

The worst performance in 2017/18 was for planning appeals involving non-bespoke inquiries, with only 14% determined within 22 weeks, compared to a target of 80%. This is up from 11% in 2016/17.

Second worst performance was for appeals involving hearings, with only 31% determined within 14 weeks compared to the 80% target. However, this is almost twice as high as last year’s 17% figure.

Targets were also missed in planning appeals involving written representations, planning appeals involving bespoke inquiries, enforcement appeals involving hearings and enforcement appeals involving inquiries.

However, targets were met in three other categories: householder and commercial planning appeals, and enforcement appeals involving written representations. Determination times improved in all nine categories compared to 2016/17.

The report also states that the PINS’ casework performance for England in 2017/18 was “mixed”, saying “For some customers, performance was within target and in some cases there was an improvement on 2016/17. However, for many we acknowledge that it was unacceptable and fell short of the level of service we seek to provide.

The average waiting time for appeals involving written representations was up from 2016/17, to 19.5 weeks compared to 18.1 in the previous period. Additionally, the determination times also lengthened for planning appeals involving bespoke inquiries and for both householder and commercial appeals, at 43.8 weeks, 13.5 weeks and 15.9 weeks respectively.

PINS chief executive Sarah Richards said: “We are continuing to change and adapt to improve the time it takes to determine appeals and meet our customers’ expectations”. She also added that PINS needs to do more to guarantee its “customers receive the service they deserve and to ensure our processes support the government’s objective to build the homes and infrastructure the country needs.”

13 July 2018