Headlines: January 19th, 1999

Local authorities have been criticised for failing to have plans for how their areas should be developed, and also for the time still being taken to process individual planning applications.Planning Minister, Richard Caborn said the knock-on effect was bad for the provision of news jobs and services in each region, and for regeneration programmes.

Over the next two months he will meet local authority representatives to hear reasons why performance is still poor in these areas. He said: ” These meetings are part of our wider commitment to work in partnership with local government to improve the planning system as part of the Modernising Planning initiative and I hope they will identify some positive ways forward.”

The latest Planning Performance Checklists show that only 67% of local plans are ready, despite an eight year lead in, and that only 62 per cent of individual planning applications are being decided within eight weeks, against a Government target of 80 per cent.