Residents contacted after discovery of planning administrative error
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is contacting residents to apologise for an administrative error that meant neighbours did not get letters telling them about 83 planning applications that have since been given permission.
Neighbours did not receive the letters they should have under the council’s published guidance on publicity for planning on some of the applications submitted between late summer and December last year due to an error linked to the printing process. However 68 of the applications had a site notice and some had press notices, as these were also needed in these cases, and they were all available on the website.
As soon as the error was discovered, the council launched a review to investigate the consequences and take steps to rectify the situation in each individual case. Letters giving a full apology and explaining the next steps are now being sent to all those affected applicants and their surrounding neighbours.
Extensions, garages, internal changes, change of use and other home improvements made up the majority of the applications classed as minor in the planning process, with a small number being for new homes on neighbouring plots of land. None were classed as major applications.
Those neighbours that didn’t know about the application but would have commented if they had been aware of it will now have the chance to give their views. Each case will then be reassessed as needed.
Chief Executive Russell O’Keefe said: “We are really sorry for this error and I would like to reassure residents we are taking this matter extremely seriously. The administrative error was linked to the printing process for some of the neighbour notification letters sent out between summer and early December 2022. We became aware of the error following enquiries to the council and we have taken swift action to establish the number of applications affected and how the error occurred. The issue had no impact on consultation with statutory consultees or councillors.
“The error relates to 83 applications across the borough and we are contacting all those applicants and neighbours impacted giving our sincere apologies and detailing the action we are taking. Neighbours have been advised how they can make comments on those applications, should they want to. Applicants have been advised of the process now taking place and what could happen next, as well as how they can seek further help and advice from the council.
“Following a 21-day neighbour consultation period on each of the affected applications, a legal review will be undertaken and each application will be treated on a case by case basis. We will work with applicants during this process and keep them updated throughout.”
The error did not affect all of the applications made during the period and all those applicants and neighbours impacted are being contacted.