Extensive consultation launched to streamline planning system

The British Property Federation (BPF) has welcomed the launch of an extensive consultation on a range of proposals to streamline the planning system building upon improvements already made.

Launched today by DCLG, the ‘Technical Consultation on Planning’ is seeking views on proposals which will:

  • make it even easier for residents and business to come together to produce a neighbourhood plan, drawing on the experience gained from over 900 neighbourhood areas which have already been designated by local authorities
  • expand permitted development rights, further reducing red tape, supporting housing and growth; these proposals will help ensure the planning system is proportionate and full planning permission is only required where this is genuinely justified
  • improve the use of planning conditions and enable development to start more quickly on site after planning permission is granted
  • improve engagement with statutory consultees so they are consulted in a proportionate way on those developments where their input is most valuable
  • remove unnecessary bureaucracy and reduce the cost and time taken to get planning permission, by raising the environmental impact assessment screening thresholds for industrial estate and urban development projects which are located outside of defined sensitive areas
  • expand the number of non-planning consents which can be included within a development consent order

The BPF was particularly pleased to see the three-tier planning system included within the proposals, which it has long advocated. This ‘Planning Pyramid’ will determine which applications need the most attention, allowing prior approval rights to those projects that demand the least attention, which will make the planning approval system considerably more efficient.

Despite these encouraging proposals, the consultation does not include the promised consideration to introduce a Statutory Duty on Local Authorities to have a Local Plan. Although controversial, this would, perhaps encourage recalcitrant local authorities to get their plans in order.

Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“The proposals in today’s consultation document are encouraging, as they are targeted towards a number of specific issues that can cause obstacles in the planning process. While some of the suggested changes are small, they are also important, and if turned into legislation could make a tangible difference to the system and speed-up much needed development in the UK.”