Government Plans to Improve the Planning System

The Government have announced plans to make the planning system more efficient and more effective.  These have been proposed via a white paper that seeks to address a number of matters in the existing system, aiming to improve the planning processes and a number of associated matters.

These include plans to:

introduce a new impact approach to householder development which will reduce the number of minor applications for planning authorities whilst protecting the interests of neighbours, the wider community and the environment;

–   extend the impact approach to permitted development to other types of development such as industrial or commercial buildings as appropriate, subject to limitations and conditions;

–       undertake a review and simplification of the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 which is the main legislation setting out the process for submitting and considering planning applications;

–   allow minor amendments to be made to a planning permission without the need for a full planning application;

–  legislate to introduce a single set of rules governing all tree preservation orders;

–       streamline information requirements for all applications, through the introduction of a standard application form and associated guidance and subsequently a further review of information requirements;

–  introduce a package of measures designed to reduce the number of applications determined by ministers; and

–  introduce a range of measures to improve the speed and efficiency of the appeals process. These include:

–             implementing fast tracked processes for householder and tree preservation order appeals;

–             establishing Local Member Review Bodies to determine minor appeals at the local level;

–             enabling the Planning Inspectorate, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, to determine the appeal method by applying ministerially approved and published indicative criteria;

–             improving customer focus and efficiency through a package of measures to refine the rules and regulations and increase the quality of appeals;

–             updating the provisions for awards of costs;

–             reducing the time limit for planning appeals when the same development is the subject of an enforcement notice;

–             measures to place enforcement appeals and lawful development certificate appeals on the same footing as that for planning appeals; and

–       introducing an appeal fee.

To view the detailed proposals announced by the Government in December, click here.

22 December 2010

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