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Planning applications shouldn’t be an exercise in job creation

Comment 2nd July 2010

Planning applications used to need the submission of a 3 page form together with plans and elevations showing the proposals

Under directions ordered by the last government, Local Planning Authorities now require completion of a 10 page form as well as very detailed plans, sections and elevations.  They can also now ask for all sorts of things to accompany the application, such as Environmental Statements, Supporting Planning Statements, Design and Access Statements, Transport Assessments, Travel Plans, Flood Risk Assessments, Regeneration Statements, Retail Assessments, Sustainability Appraisals, Tree Surveys, Nature Conservation Assessments, Ecological Assessments, Noise Impact Assessments, Air Quality Assessments, Utilities Statements, Energy Statements, Archaeological Assessments, etc. 

As this is now all laid down in Local Authority Planning Protocols, there are many Planning Officers who will ask for unnecessary information  – without having the common sense to question it. 

The consequence is, of course, that many consultants need to be employed to prepare such assessments and statements and the cost of making planning applications has risen alarmingly.   Another side to the issue is that Local Authorities require additional staff (or their own consultants) to verfity and check the information, thereby creating an additional burden on tax payers.

These Local Planning Authority powers should be curbed so that development is allowed to proceed with minimal levels of bureaucracy.

 

Why does this matter?

Bureaucracy is strangling this country.  Applicants for planning consent are the people who are investing in development and making the wheels of economy turn in the construction industry.  They shouldn't be the bearers of unnecessary wage bills.

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