“A GROWING frustration” on how planning applications are being dealt with by Powys County Council is being felt in parts of Montgomeryshire, community councillors have been told.

At a meeting of Guilsfield Community Council, chairman Cllr Ian Harrison gave an update on the formal complaint the council lodged with Powys Council over the way it had handled a planning application in the village.

In October 2020, its planning committee approved an outline planning application to build nine homes at the former Fairview garage in the middle of Guilsfield.

The community council thought that the application was on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis, and – with meetings suspended between March and September – had not given the county authority an opinion on the scheme before it was approved.

Powys responded to criticism by saying that the community council was emailed a week before the planning meeting and had been given sufficient time to consider the application.

At the Guilsfield meeting on January 14, Cllr Harrison told members that a formal complaint had been lodged before the last meeting on Thursday, December 16.

Cllr Harrison, said: “I’ve not heard anything at all.

“However you will have noted that a resident of Montgomery is currently taking Powys planners to judicial review over maladministration of a separate planning application, there were articles in the local press very recently.”

Cllr Harrison was referring to an detailed planning application for a two-storey three-bedroom house with detached garages at Pwll Farm, Hendomen near Montgomery.

Cllr Harrison added: “Our own case was mentioned, there does appear to be a growing frustration to how planning applications are actually treated, certainly in this part of the county.”

After the application had been approved, GCC had explored the possibility of holding a judicial review into the decision, but the council was advised that legal route would be costly.

At the PCC planning committee meeting on October 1, lead planning professional officer Peter Morris was sympathetic to the difficulties faced by community councils holding meetings through the Covid-19 lockdown, but stressed that Guilsfield Community Council had enough time to submit a response.

Mr Morris also told councillors that the planning case officer that GCC had initially dealt with had left PCC at the end of May.

Mr Morris said: “I was always making the point to community councils that you may struggle to meet, but that does not stop you providing comments.

“We have a paying customer here that wants us to make a decision.”