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Woolas: tight new deadlines

Planning shake-up to speed regeneration

Published:  01 August, 2005

Local planning authorities will gain new powers to speed up the planning system under regulations that come into effect on August 24. Most significantly, planning consents will only have a three-year lifespan, down from five years at present.

In addition repeat applications will be banned; statutory consultees, like highways authorities, will have to respond to requests for advice within 21 days to help speed-up planning decisions and major schemes could go to public inquiry even before the local authority has made its decision.

Announcing the changes ODPM Minister Phil Woolas said: “We are sending a message to developers that they have a role to play in creating a faster, more certain planning system.”

But he signalled one significant concession: “It is right that for the majority of development, planning permission expires after three years,” he said. “It is also right that developers will no longer be able to simply seek to extend the life of the permission where they fail to get started in time. However, we have listened to the property industry and will therefore be giving them 12 months grace before it applies to current permissions.”