Fenella Collins, CLA Head of Planning comments on the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government's (MHCLG) announcement that they want to ensure faster decision-making within the planning system.
CLA members are constantly complaining about the planning system especially in respect of the planning application and appeal processes. There is no doubt the planning system is complex, opaque and bureaucratic, and under-resourced. This has resulted in increased burdens and expense for rural businesses. Successive governments have attempted to simplify and speed up the decision-making process, but with little or no evidence that they have succeeded. Indeed the continuing level of complaints by CLA members tends to suggest that complexity about the system may be deterring some rural businesses from investing in their businesses for the longer term because of concerns about the up-front costs of submitting planning applications, the time it can take to receive a decision and the uncertainty about achieving a beneficial outcome.
So it is good to see the government accepting that the planning system is still not delivering as quickly as it should, when it announced that it will publish a Green Paper later this year entitled “Accelerated Planning”. This Green Paper will provide the CLA with an opportunity to make representations on behalf of the membership.
The Green Paper is likely to discuss how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process. There will also be proposals that will take account of a recent review of the Planning Appeals process which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries. The Green Paper may also include proposals for further reform of the compulsory purchase regime.
The Green Paper will be looking for solutions for speeding up the decision-making process in relation to planning applications and appeals. The CLA will be responding to the Green Paper with proposals for simplifying the application process in a bid to cut costs and to speed up the decision-making process. We will also be making representations on the need for proper resourcing of planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate.
We would welcome your input into the CLA response and will alert you when the Green Paper is published with details of how you can send us your case study evidence.