As part of its ongoing programme to simplify the planning system, the Government has unveiled proposals for the creation of a planning ‘guarantee’ which would ensure that no application for planning permission in England would take longer than 12 months to be decided, including any subsequent appeal.
The Government wants to remove uncertainty from the planning system for local people by ensuring that every planning application is dealt with as quickly as possible.
Under the proposals, local people will be able to see how their councils perform against the ‘guarantee’ by using information provided by the councils. Currently thousands of planning applications are held up in the planning system, leaving local householders, companies and developers “in planning limbo.” For example, between April 2010 and April 2011, approximately 3,200 planning applications took longer than 52 weeks to be decided – a statistic that the Government wants to eradicate.
The Government also intends to create more openness, by requiring councils to publish details of their planning performance on at least a quarterly basis, so that local people can see whether their council is meeting the requirements of the planning guarantee. The Department for Communities and Local Government will also publish a regular report on the performance of individual councils.
The Planning Minister, Greg Clark, has already written to local authorities signalling the Government’s intentions.
The next step
1. The Government will provide full details of how the planning guarantee will work in a consultation paper, which is likely to be published in autumn 2011.
2. The Government will publish a further consultation paper later this year on reducing the amount of information required to accompany all planning applications.