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UK Planning Performance Due to Become More Efficient

The UK Government has introduced new measures to increase the effectiveness of planning decisions for non-major developments by local authorities across the country.

The UK Government has introduced new measures to increase the effectiveness of planning decisions for non-major developments by local authorities across the country.

In a written statement published on the UK Parliament’s official website, the Minister of State for Housing Gavin Barwell has signalled that new measures, introduced on October 21st, will help to improve how local authorities process planning applications.


The measures include appointing a “designation regime”, which sets a clear statutory framework that local authorities should consult in order to make a planning decision.


The new regime mimics one that is already in place for planning decisions of major developments, which, according Mr Barwell, has proven extremely successful in increasing the number of applications that are processed in time.


Figures show that the number of applications processed in time rose from 57% in 2012’s Q4 when the regime was first announced to 84% in the last quarter – the highest percentage on record yet.


Mr Barwell also mentioned in the statement that on November 22nd, his administration laid down revised criteria for the Secretary of State to use when designating a local authority as ‘underperforming’ and the different thresholds that authorities will be assessed against when reviewed in the first quarter of 2017.


In his statement, the Minister wrote:


“Planning is a control on people making use of their land and is a quasi-judicial process, so any delay is denying them their legal rights.”


The increased control on planning performance of non-major developments is the latest in a series of government measures to address the housing shortage that characterises the UK’s property market, with the move expected to reduce planning and construction delays that often affect both residents and applicants.


In addition to the new planning decision measures introduced by the Housing Minister, chancellor Philip Hammond announced in yesterday's Autumn Statement, that the government will seek to address the housing shortage through £2.3 billion of investment into the construction sector, helping to create 100,000 new homes by 2020/21.