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Councils to compete to process planning applications under new proposals

Councils will compete to process planning applications and offer fast-track application services under new government proposals set out today.

The proposals will allow the government to pilot a scheme in a number of areas where planning applications can be made either to the local authority or to another ‘approved provider’.

Councils would also be able to offer a fast-track application service similar to a fast-track passport application, either through competition pilots or devolution deals.

Communities secretary Greg Clark MP said: “Council planning departments play a vital role in getting local housebuilding off the ground, but for too long they have had no incentive to get things done quickly or better, resulting in drawn out applications and local frustration.”

Other proposals include increasing planning fees by a proportionate amount which is linked to inflation and performance, separating decision making on ‘in principle’ issues such as location from technical issues, and increasing rights to support the development of free schools.

The proposals, which relate to the Housing and Planning Bill, are open for consultation until 15 April.


Cllr S Duckett   18/02/2016 at 14:55

Most applications are fast tracked under officer delegation. Planning committees have one hand tied behind their backs already, when it comes to trying to stop unsuitable developments. The local frustration is in not being able to protect our wards from building in flood plans and accident black spot areas. Why bother with local democracy when the 'know it alls' from Whitehall can do it all for us.

Andrew Moore   18/02/2016 at 15:34

Important to retain planning as a locally rooted activity co-ordinated by officers of a local democracy. Actually we'd probably get along a whole lot better if parliament stopped tinkering with planning and instead took action on maintaining the national infrastucture. Oh hang on they've mostly sold that off to the French, Germans, Chinese and Canadians. Thinking aboug it, is there anything useful that our nationall parliament does?

Alison Graham   18/02/2016 at 15:47

I'm seriously worried about the words another ' approved provider'. This could, no, would, spell confusion, crossed purposes, ignored local strategies, and yet more local frustration among residents and local authorities. It's also a fact that builders don't move as fast as they might, having been given permission, as they wait for more advantageous circumstances.

Jane Wright   18/02/2016 at 19:22

AG's last comment is spot on. The delays are not with the planning process but with the developer land-banking permissions whilst waiting for prices to rise or the requirement for "affordable houses" to be reduced. Why would a developer build all the houses at once? the need would be met, the prices would fall and so would his profits.

Georgina Allen   22/02/2016 at 15:37

I am incredibly worried about this. It appears to me to be nothing short than an attempt to privatise planning. Here in Devon, the problem is not the shortage of new homes going up, but the fact that the developers have managed so successfully to get out of their 106 requirements and their percentage of affordable homes. That is what should be addressed, not allowing developers even more free license to push through inappropriate market houses, which are having a devastating affect on our countryside, on farming, on tourism, on our livelihoods. Who are these 'alternative providers' going to be? In all likelihood they are going to be people associated with our disastrous 'devolution' bid and have connections to the LEP, who have already decide they are going to build 179,000 more houses down here. They have an enormous amount of money from the government, over £4 bn and their board is made up of property developers and construction CEOs. They have the authority now to build these houses and once they can also take control of planning permission, we are in deep, deep trouble.

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