Red tape and delays in the planning system are set to be tackled by new government plans outlined today in Kate Barker’s report into land use planning
Among a raft of recommendations to overhaul the planning system, economic adviser Barker has suggested that there be a review of previously protected land to ensure a sufficient supply of land for development.
Barker also makes recommendations to improve the responsiveness, efficiency and transparency of the planning system.
Barker’s report recommends various improvements to the planning system.
• Substantial rationalisation of national planning guidance to provide a clearer and more transparent national policy framework
• Improving local plan-making processes so plans can be drawn up in 18-24 months, instead of the present 36-42 months. This could save local authorities over £100m over a three-year period
• A more risk-based and proportionate approach to regulation with significant reduction in the paperwork required to support applications. This will help reduce private sector planning fees (estimated at £200m a year) and consultancy fees (estimated at £300m a year).
• Greater certainty of timescales with new, individually tailored delivery agreements between planning authorities and developers
• Faster processing of appeals. From 2008/09, all appeals should take place within six months
• A significant reduction in the number of cases suffering delays due to ministerial call-in, with 50% fewer call-ins from 2007
• In line with the findings of the Eddington Study of Transport, a radical overhaul of the planning system for significant infrastructure projects
• Allowing minor changes to commercial premises such as small wind turbines and solar panels without requiring planning permission
• Updating planning policy guidance on economic development for the first time in 14 years
• Ensuring plans take better account of relevant price and market signals such as land prices for different uses
• Encouraging empty property to be put into use and to incentivise the use of vacant, previously developed land
• Ensuring sufficient supply of land for the proportion of development that cannot take place in towns and cities.
Barker said: ‘The planning system has a profound impact on our quality of life, but the current system will come under increasing pressures in the coming decade.
‘Building on recent reforms, the recommendations in my report provide a comprehensive set of measures to ensure we have a planning system that is timely, transparent, flexible and responsive enough to meet the challenges that lie ahead.’