Headlines: April 2nd, 2007



More local authorities have met national targets for handling planning applications speedily and efficiently. Fifty-six local planning authorities will now be removed from the Government’s poor performers list and that means three-quarters of all councils are now meeting all three national targets for dealing with applications on time, compared to just 6 per cent five years ago.

New figures show that in the final quarter of last year planning authorities received 149,000 applications and on average they determined 70 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks and 75 per cent of minor applications within 8 weeks. Almost nine out of ten of other applications were also dealt with within the 8 week period. Those figures represent a 4 per cent improvement in dealing with major applications compared to the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

Authorities who under-perform are designated as ‘Planning Standards Authorities’ and are set performance targets that have to be met within a year, with the professional support of the Planning Advisory Service. Announcing that 56 councils were coming off the list, planning minister Baroness Andrews said, this was due to the hard work of council members and officers.

“Across the board, we are seeing a majority of planning authorities raising their game to deliver a fast and efficient service for the whole community. We are committed to helping councils improve further and will be working directly with the remaining underperformers to push them forward over the coming year, “she said.

The new figures show that the largest increase in the number of planning applications received was in the South West and the West Midlands, which both saw rises of 3 per cent. Applications in London and the South East went up by 2 per cent but fewer applications were submitted in the East Midlands and the North West of England.