LGA Lib Dems: Outcome of Government Planning Review

The Government has announced the results of its review of planning performance. The upshot is:

  • Blaby is the only authority that will be designated.
  • Halton and Worthing, who were below the threshold according to data published in September, will not be designated as a result of correcting data and presenting exceptional circumstances, which were accepted.
  • They are delaying designation for county matter applications for 6 months in light of problems with the data and the amount of correction to data requested by counties. This appears to be a mixture of confusion caused by DCLG in what they were collecting and miscoding / under-reporting of councils data.

The LGA have commented as follows:

“Today’s announcement is a clear indication that the planning system is working and provides a ringing endorsement of local government’s ability to deliver sector-led improvement. The best way to improve performance across local government is to share learning between councils.

“It is good that after months of in-depth discussion the Government has recognised the flaws in its new performance rating system. The decision to allow more time to assess councils’ performance on decisions about large, complex and controversial developments like landfill sites, quarries and fracking wells is a sensible response to the concerns raised by local government, community groups and national charities.

“The fact that the vast majority of councils surpass the Government’s criteria demonstrates again that these reforms were a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Councils approve 88 per cent of planning applications and it is wasteful that the Government chose to use the heavy handed route of primary legislation that has cost significant time and money, rather than talking to councils about their concerns.

“The best way to get development going is through councils and developers working together to ensure that planning services are fast and effective and to address issues as they arise.  We urge Government to support that approach in future.”

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