Faster planning is needed

The British Property Federation (BPF) has launched its Accelerated Planning Manifesto.

The manifesto contains industry perspectives on the practical ways in which the existing planning system can be made more efficient, as well as focusing on specific areas of the system that deserve greater attention from central government.

These reforms aim to help to create a better funded, responsive and transparent planning system, which will support development in the right places at the right time.  This will be of interest to landlords who may be thinking of carrying out any work on their properties.

The manifesto highlights resourcing as a key issue for the planning system, with per person spending on planning falling by 55 per cent since 2010.

However, with the major parties prioritising housing during the current general election, the planning system may struggle to deal with increased housing targets without further investment.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF, says: “The English planning system never stands still, and the recommendations put forward to government in this manifesto are a reflection that there are many opportunities to make the existing plan-led system work better.

“These improvements will be important if we are to accelerate delivery of the homes and development that the country needs.

“There is no single solution for creating an accelerated planning system, but resourcing must be a priority for the next government going forward.

“Together with more investment from the private sector, a future government must commit to better funding local government to ensure it can deliver more effective planning outcomes for all who interact with the process.”

Other recommendations include:

*That the government should do more to ensure Local Plans are updated and aim for all local authorities to have an up-to-date plan by 2021.

*The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should publish good practice guidance for the use of Planning Performance Agreements.

*Greater thought should be given to creating more structured and consistent engagement prior to committee determination. This would help to resolve concerns and issues relating to a planning application before a formal planning committee meeting.  

*A greater use of Local Development Orders to help free up local planning officers’ time to deal with more complex schemes.

*The government should encourage Local Planning Authorities to publish model Section 106 clauses and model conditions to assist their planning officers in dealing with applications in an efficient and consistent manner.