THE number of appeals against Bournemouth council's planning decisions has doubled this year.

However, the authority says its success rate has remained the same, with 75 per cent of appeals turned down by the planning inspector.

A planning board meeting on Monday heard there had been 118 appeals this year to date.

Senior planning officer Simon Gould said: "This is essentially double what we have had in the years before that.

"Notwithstanding that our success rate is still very high. Only 25 per cent have been allowed, despite the increasing pressure on staff to deal with the increasing work load."

He told members there had previously been a peak in planning appeals in the years 2004-06, and officers fear the current trend may continue.

The board chairman, Councillor David Kelsey, told the Daily Echo there was no clear reason for the rise in appeals.

"I am not sure, I think a lot of it is down to householder applications and flat developments," he said.

"I think a lot of applicants are thinking there is a real shortage of housing and trying their luck, but we will only have refused them permission if there are genuine reasons for refusal.

"I think our success rate shows members and planning officers are making the right decisions."

He said the National Planning Policy Framework had made it easier to get approval for new housing projects, and that the planning inspector was typically more sympathetic to applicants than local planning authorities.

"Developers are still chancing their arms a little bit, we have to stick to our guns and to our policies," he said.

"We will allow housing where it is right for the area. Take Moordown, we would not allow a 15-storey block of flats in Moordown as it is not that sort of area. In the town centre we allow tall buildings.

"Planning inspectors mostly come from Bristol and don't know the area. What we say doesn't always tally with the inspector."

Also, Cllr Kelsey said the council was not obliged to pay for appeals unless it not only lost the case but was deemed by the planning inspectorate, based in Bristol, to have not properly used planning policy in its reasons for refusal.

"This isn't the only cost however," he added.

"There is a cost in the waste of officer's time having to prepare all the paperwork for it, you can't just hand over what has been done, you have to go through it all again."