Planning for Homes: Speeding up Planning Applications for Major Housing Developments in England
HC 15, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2008-2009
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Housing developments require the approval of planning applications by the 368 local planning authorities in England before they can proceed. The Department for Communities and Local Government (The Department) has given local authorities approximately £68 million per year to improve the handling of planning applications and, in particular, to speed them up.
Measures taken include:
payment of Planning Delivery Grant;
initiatives to build public sector planning capacity; and
initiatives to improve the development management process.
While authorities are taking more decisions on major housing schemes within 13 weeks, the true extent of the improvement across the development process is not as clear as it could be.
The combination of the extra grant and the setting by the Department of targets has encouraged local authorities to give a higher priority to taking speedier decisions.
The Department's figures on processing planning applications for large housing developments show a significant improvement, with 67% of decisions being reached in 13 weeks in 2007-08, up from 37% in 2002-03.
However, the extent of improvement across the development process is less clear because the Department's performance measure excludes the time spent before an application's submission and after its subsequent approval, both of which can be substantial. The Department does not collect data on how long it took to reach these decisions.
The National Audit Office found that, for the 11 authorities visited, decisions to reject were taken more quickly than those to approve, with approval taking on average 25 weeks for the 100 cases examined from 2006-07.
|Format||Paperback||Published||17 Dec 2008|
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