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Planning for new developments in the city are set to progress faster after a successful initiative to tackle the backlog of applications was held by Portsmouth City Council’s planning service. From 19 April to 3 May, a Decision Delivery Drive was held where more than 250 applications were processed, which is a 500% increase on an average week.

Planning applications can be complex with around 25 applications being processed in an average week.  During the recent Decision Delivery Drive, the planning service did not take any new customer enquiries to focus on work clearing the backlog of applications to improve the service. All teams across the planning service played a vital role, whilst being supported by colleagues in customer services.

Cllr Hugh Mason, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy & City Development said:

” The Decision Delivery Drive has been a positive initiative to significantly reduce the number of planning applications in the system and will allow our teams to provide a much better customer service to applicants going forward

I would like to thank residents and developers who have been patient during this period and the dedicated staff who continue to be committed to improving our planning service.”

The planning service has been facing a large backlog of planning applications due a shortage of experienced staff and by restrictions in how the work could be achieved during the pandemic. This meant that decisions on planning applications were taking too long to process, with many taking beyond the statutory timescales of more than eight weeks.

Following this success, Portsmouth City Council will consider future Decision Delivery Drives to build on process improvements made last year to allow more types of applications to be decided as a delegated decision.

For more information on Portsmouth’s planning process visit