Developers could soon be able to pay a fee to have their planning applications fast-tracked as part of new government proposals in a bid to accelerate housing delivery.
It’s thought that Communities Secretary, Greg Clark is keen on commercialising the planning system, giving local authorities the power to compete to process applications and outsource to neighbouring councils.
Limited innovation and efficiency within the planning system has been attributed to the ‘closed market’ in handling planning applications, according to the Government.
Mr Clark said the proposals, which went out to consultation last week, would put an end to frustration felt by housebuilders and self-build applicants.
“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,” added Clark.
The plans come almost two years after property developers began to lobby the Government for fast-tracked planning services.
Brian Berry, chief executive, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “In order to ensure the broader planning system is working as it should, it’s essential that it’s properly resourced.
“Local authorities need to be able to invest in their planning departments to put in place, and renew, their local plans.
“Fees, whether fast-track or standard, need to be weighted to ensure that overall the system will be adequately resourced. The system as it stands is creaking – this new approach must be made to work and it cannot come soon enough.”
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