Ealing Council spends £500,000 fighting planning appeals

Image: Ealing Council

Council spent over half a million pounds of taxpayer’s money from 2018 to 2023

Ealing Council has spent over £500,000 in legal costs fighting rejected planning applications that were eventually approved on appeal, a new Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The Labour-run council spent £506,248 of taxpayers’ money, during the period 2018 to December 2023, to challenge planning decisions of which £142,467.65 was total legal costs and £363,780.36 were costs awarded to the appellant.

Of 17 London councils who replied to the FOI request, Ealing spent the most on rejected applications which were then approved on appeal, according to the research by PR and Marketing company Coverdale Barclay. By comparison, Hounslow Council spent only £18,480.

Ros Barclay, Director at Coverdale Barclay, said:

“Under-staffed planning departments mean decisions are taking far too long to progress and, in some cases, culminating in decisions that incur an extra cost to the public purse.

“These figures demonstrate the importance of effective political and public consultation at every stage of the planning application process, ensuring decisions about plans for much-needed new homes are made efficiently and, ultimately, correctly.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson said:

“Two key priorities for Ealing Council are ensuring there are good, well-paid jobs in all our seven towns so that all residents can benefit from the borough’s economic prosperity, and tackling the housing crisis by delivering more genuinely affordable homes to let. In other words, we are pro-growth and pro-new affordable homes.

“But we reserve the right to fight on behalf of residents to ensure only the right sort of development takes place here. On occasion, this means fighting against appeals on rejected planning decisions.

“One case in particular skewed our figures as it absorbed significant costs, including paying for external witnesses and legal counsel. In that case, we had to pay legal costs both for ourselves and the appellant.”

Image: List of councils who responded to the freedom of information request