LARA has been supporting an approach to the Planning Inspectorate in Wales to alter and improve the way that participants in some rights of way orders are kept informed about crucial dates and deadlines. PINS at Cardiff has now made some very helpful changes.
When an Inspector proposes to confirm an order with modifications, those modifications often require a further round of advertisement and the opportunity to object. The period in which such objections (or representations) can be made is set out in, e.g., a ‘Notice of Proposal to Modify Definitive Map Order’.
In England, PINS sends this ‘modification notice’ directly to the participants in the order process to date. In Wales, PINS does not (until now) send the modification notice directly, instead requiring the participants to scan the local press, or to trek regularly to the order route to look for notices. Not a very practical or fair arrangement, it seemed to volunteers working in the order process.
Following correspondence based on the situation in an actual ongoing order case, PINS Cardiff has changed its processes at least as an interim measure until the Welsh Government carries out a wider review of procedures. In a letter of 13 February 2017, PINS says, “As well as allowing duly made representations from the day the interim decision is issued, we will also ask OMA’s to give us advance warning of when the notice will be advertised / the closing date for representations. This request will be included in our covering letter to OMA’s when we issue the interim decision. As soon as we receive this information it will be circulated to the relevant parties. The effectiveness of this change of procedure will of course be reliant upon each OMA responding in a timely manner and the Inspectorate cannot be held accountable should any party fail to be notified. The Inspectorate considers these to be “reasonable adjustments” in view of the