Headlines: July 31st, 2009

The planning process could be made easier to help businesses and shops during the recession. Schools will also benefit from the proposals which would mean more than 25,000 non domestic planning proposals each year would no longer need full planning applications in a move estimated to save businesses at least 20 million pounds a year.

The Department for Communities and Local Government also believes minimising red tape will save time and resources for councils because applicants will no longer be submitting large amounts of unnecessary information. Under the proposed changes businesses, offices, shops, schools and other institutions would save application fees and administration costs for minor alterations and extensions.

The proposals, which have been put out for consultation by the Planning Minister, John Healey, follow recommendations from the review of the planning system carried out by Joanna Killian, the Chief Executive of Essex County and Brentwood Borough Councils, and David Pretty, former Group Chief Executive of Barratt Developments. The new rules would expand permitted development, create an intermediate approach between permitted development and the full planning application process and ensure that local authorities ask only for information that is relevant and necessary. It is estimated that limiting the amount of information applicants submit could save a further 50 to 70 million pounds a year.

John Healey said: “We want to make it easier for businesses in the current difficult economic climate and these proposals will cut red tape and bureaucracy. No decision has been taken yet on the Killen Pretty recommendation for a review of the requirement for councils to advertise applications in local newspapers.