Planning website slated as North Somerset Council says ‘keep trying’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 September 2016

There have been problems with North Somerset Council's planning website.

There have been problems with North Somerset Council's planning website.

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North Somerset Council’s leader has branded problems with the authority’s planning website ‘totally unacceptable’, after weeks of problems prevented people from viewing and commenting on applications for new developments.

The council cited ‘technical difficulties’ as the reason for the issues, which regularly cause the planning page to crash or not load completely. It also stressed it was working towards a ‘long-term’ solution and promised residents the issues would have no bearing on the outcomes of any planning applications.

Council leader Nigel Ashton addressed the problems at the executive’s most recent meeting on September 6.

Cllr Ashton told the meeting: “It has been totally unacceptable.

“The chief executive and I had a meeting with those involved this morning as it does seem to be ongoing. They are addressing it as we speak.”

A spokesman for the council urged people to ‘keep trying’ to view applications and stressed it took all comments into account before planning applications were determined.

The spokesman said: “While the fault is an intermittent one and only relates to part of the website, we fully appreciate the frustration residents feel when they can’t look at an application online.

“In addition to our engineers working to resolve the current difficulties, we are also planning to replace our systems to get a long-term solution.

“In the meantime, we apologise for the inconvenience caused and ask residents to keep trying as planning applications can still be viewed on our website most of the time.”

Villagers in Congresbury have been particularly critical of the problems, as many have tried to view developer Strongvox’s recent application for 24 homes in Brinsea Road. The deadline for commenting on the plan was extended by the council due to the website problems.

Robin Lea, who is a member of the Congresbury Residents’ Action Group, said: “There are hundreds of people in Congresbury being denied their constitutional rights.

“We have this situation every time a new application is registered and it is casually brushed aside as being a temporary glitch in the bowels of the dilapidated computer system.”

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