CHESHIRE East Council is becoming more successful in defending planning appeals, new figures appear to suggest.

Applicants who have their projects turned down by the local authority can lodge an appeal against the decision with the Planning Inspectorate within six months.

According to figures presented to CEC’s strategic planning board on Wednesday, CEC successfully defended 47 of the 63 appeals it faced in the first six months of 2019-20 – meaning 25 per cent of its decisions were overturned.

That is a drop of 11 per cent on the overall figure for 2018-19, when 36 per cent of CEC’s decisions were overturned at appeal, after the council successfully defended 72 out of 112 planning appeals.

Planning appeals can be costly for the council if the applicant applies for an award of costs – something all local authorities hope to avoid.

An award of costs is where the council would pay costs, either in part or in full, that the applicant incurred during the appeal process.

David Malcolm, acting head of planning at CEC, told the committee: “Effectively we are broadly on the national average [of 30 per cent]. They are always good numbers to check.

“We analyse every appeal that is allowed [where the applicant has won] in terms of why it has been allowed. Sometimes it can be down to just individual judgement on design issues.

“Sometimes we just have to accept that we don’t agree with the inspector’s decision, but it’s a different view to ours and we live with it.

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“Some of them are where we haven’t interpreted the policy correctly, other times there are decisions that members have taken a different view. So we do learn from them.”

Cllr Stewart Gardiner, Conservative, added: “In my professional experience there are some interesting decisions sometimes by inspectors.”