Edinburgh Council re-advertise nearly 100 planning applications after IT glitch

The city council has been forced to re-advertise almost 100 planning applications after an IT upgrade led to computer systems grinding to a halt.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th January 2019, 2:32 pm
Edinburgh City Council has been forced to re-advertise almost 100 planning application over the IT issues

Planners have written to all of the 94 applicants affected, as well as community councils, who comment on proposals, to notify them about the problems and has issued an apology.

In November, the council carried out a “major upgrade” to the computer system that process planning applications and building warrant applications. Planners said the upgrade was completed “successfully” but a “technical problem” meant that not all documents were displaying on the council’s planning portal website.

The council is legally obliged to give members of the public a 21-day window to comment on planning applications.

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A general view of Edinburgh City Council Headquarters in Market Street. Picture: Scott Louden

In a letter to councillors, chief planning officer David Leslie, said: “In order to meet statutory requirements for public comment, we need to re-notify neighbours, re-advertise and erect new site notices for affect applications. This will ensure that those wishing to comment on applications can view all the relevant information and have the required 21 days to submit representations.”

“We will be contacting all applicants affected by this issue to explain the situation and apologise for the delay in determining their application. We will also be writing to all community councils.”

Opposition councillors have blasted the state of the authority’s IT problems.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Kevin Lang, said: “It’s ironic that poor planning appears to have caused serious problems in, of all areas, the council’s planning system.

“This IT change was designed to improve the online portal. Instead, it has ended up delaying almost 100 planning applications across the city, requiring new consultations, notifications and deadlines.

“The council must now ensure everyone affected is properly informed. We cannot afford any further mistakes.”

Conservative Cllr Jo Mowat, said another problem for the council’s place directorate to deal with along with waste collections and road improvements was “incredibly disappointing”.

She added: “I’m aware it was a new computer system but it puts more burden on a service which is struggling.”

Officers were forced to cancel a development management sub-committee meeting in November because planned work on the council’s IT system meant residents couldn’t comment on applications.

A council spokeswoman said: “Due to a technical issue, a number of planning applications are required to be re-advertised. We have contacted any applicants affected by the issue, as well as writing to community councils, and apologise for any issues caused by this delay.”