Councils may have to compete over planning applications

Thu 18th February 2016, 4:09 pm

Local authorities could have to compete to process planning applications and offer a fast-track application service under government plans.

A consultation document published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on Thursday 18 February proposes that applicants could choose to have applications processed by the council where the scheme is located, or a different local authority or other organisation approved by the government.

The final decision would still rest with the local authority in the scheme’s area, regardless of who processed the application. Local authorities would also be allowed to offer fast-track services for planning applications, similar to those for passport services, for a “proportionate fee”.

Communities secretary Greg Clark said: "Council planning departments play a vital role in getting local housebuilding off the ground but, for too long, they have had no incentive to get things done quickly or better, resulting in drawn-out applications and local frustration.

"These proposals will be a boost for housebuilders looking to build much needed new homes for hard working families and first time buyers, and for local people looking to get a planning permission for home improvements through their local council quicker."

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