MORE than half of all planning applications to Barrow Council fail at the first hurdle,  according to new figures.

Applicants filling out council forms are not entering the correct information or providing sufficient detail for the application to be validated by the council.

It could mean delays in planning permission being granted and the council not meeting Government targets to deal with new applications.

The issue has been raised by Jason Hipkiss, Barrow Council’s planning manager, who said 60 per cent of applications are invalid.

Mr Hipkiss said: “The good news is that we have met the Government targets but one thing we do have an issue with is the validation of planning applications, which is one of the first things that happens when an application lands through our letterbox.

“We are finding quite a significant number, 60 per cent are being rejected at the first hurdle.

“We have tried to work with agents to identify what issues they have, but we have to appreciate quite a few applications are people making applications on their own and it is likely to be the only time they encounter the planning process. Like any sort of form, if you get something wrong it is going to be rejected.”

The mistake has also caught out professional firms who are omitting vital information required to validate a planning application, said Mr Hipkiss.

He said: “It does hold back applications and it means that suddenly you can get a tidal wave of applications across your desk which can also lead to potential delays.

“It’s quite important that we get the right information at the start. Our team works very hard with agents to put them on the right path, unfortunately some agents just won’t learn from the process.”

Cllr Ann Thomson, the chairwoman of Barrow Council’s planning committee, said she expected planning agents to know better.

“Agents taking money off people for planning applications should be getting the process right,” said Cllr Thomson, the Labour councillor for Hindpool.

She said the council’s performance in dealing with planning applications was very good.

New figures showed that 59.3 per cent of applications submitted to the council had “issues,” while 40.7 per cent did not.

Between October 2016 and September 2018, the council received more than 1,000 planning applications.

Of those which needed a time extension, 34 per cent were applications from householders.