Improving planning performance:Written statement - HCWS276

Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 November 2016
Made by: Gavin Barwell (Minister of State for Housing and Planning & Minister for London)

Improving planning performance

An effective and strongly performing planning system is a crucial part of delivering on our commitment to increase housing supply. We are very clear that planning delays are bad for both applicants and local residents. They can slow down the building of new homes and also create uncertainty about the future shape of the community. Planning is a control on people making use of their land and is a quasi-judicial process, so any delay is denying them their legal rights.

We have a locally-led planning system, which sets a clear statutory framework in which a local planning authority should make decisions. The existing designation regime had great success in delivering improved performance in local planning authorities. In the most recent quarter, 83 per cent of applications for major development were decided on time, the highest figure on record. This is up from 57 per cent in July to September 2012, when the designation regime was first announced. We are committed to ensuring this is reflected more widely across the planning decisions authorities make. Therefore we are extending the regime to further drive delivery against statutory requirements by including an authority’s performance in determining applications for non-major development. This was set out in recently laid regulations[1], which came into force on 21 October 2016.

Today we have laid before Parliament “Improving Planning Performance: Criteria for Designation (Revised 2016)”, which sets out revised criteria that the Secretary of State intends to use for designating a local planning authority as underperforming and the thresholds that authorities will be assessed against in the next designation round in the first quarter of 2017.

Speed of decision-making for the purposes of the non-statutory identification scheme for on-shore oil and gas applications, as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 16 September 2015, HCWS201, will be assessed by reference to the revised criteria, including the revised threshold for major development. The revised criteria will not apply to the final quarter of 2016 identification round: we will assess authorities on this basis from the first quarter of 2018 and annually thereafter.

Copies of “Improving Planning Performance: Criteria for Designation (Revised 2016)” have been placed in the Library of the House.

[1] The Town and Country Planning (Section 62A Applications) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 No. 944 and The Town and Country Planning (Section 62A Applications) (Hearings) (Amendment) Rules 2016 No. 955

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS276

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