New procedures enable developers to bypass under-performing planning authorities

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published revised criteria for deciding which local planning authorities (LPAs) are to be regarded as ‘poor performers’ in relation to their handling of planning applications. The approach enables such designated LPAs to be bypassed, so major planning applications in their areas can be submitted directly to the planning inspectorate. The altered criteria will take effect after the statutory 40-day parliamentary consideration period has passed.

As part of the government’s intention to make the planning system work more efficiently and effectively, initial performance criteria for LPAs was published in 2013. Under this, those authorities that determined 30 per cent or fewer major planning applications within the statutory period or had more than 20 per cent of their decisions overturned at appeal could be designated as under-performing. However, following consultation earlier this year, revised criteria has now been published, with some thresholds having been increased and exemptions introduced.

The performance of LPAs is assessed by considering two key elements: the speed at which applications are dealt with and the quality of decisions made…

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