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Greg Clark sets out guarantee to local communities on simplifying planning system

A new ‘Planning Guarantee’ will create greater certainty for local communities by speeding up local planning applications that get stuck in …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new ‘Planning Guarantee’ will create greater certainty for local communities by speeding up local planning applications that get stuck in the system, Planning Minister Greg Clark announced in a letter to local councils today.

At the moment thousands of planning applications get caught in the system for over a year, leaving householders and local firms frustrated by delays to getting a decision. Today Mr Clark advised local authorities that the Planning Guarantee will mean that no planning application  should take longer than 12 months to reach a decision, including any appeal.

This ensures fairness for everybody and a level playing field for all applications, whether big or small. Local residents and local firms will have more confidence that their application will be dealt with swiftly and fairly.

Local people will be able to see how their councils performs against the Guarantee using information which is made available by councils as frequently as possible. Ministers expect this to be at least quarterly.

The Department will also publish a regular report on performance by individual councils. Full details of how the Guarantee will work will be published for consultation in the autumn.

Mr Clark said:

We need a simpler, swifter planning system that delivers fairness for all, from householders to local firms and shops.

At the moment too many planning applications get stuck in the system for too long, leaving people in planning limbo.

The planning guarantee will help remove the uncertainty from the system for communities and ensure that every application, big or small, is dealt with quickly and fairly.

Mr Clark also wants to cut down on paperwork in the planning system and simplify the application process. Whether it’s a householder building an extension or a local shop expanding to the next building, applicants frequently complain that they are asked to give information of marginal relevance that can be very expensive to produce.

The Government will consult in the autumn on reducing the information required to accompany all planning applications. Ministers are keen to hear from local people, local firms, councils, and other parties on what information is really helpful and necessary.

Today’s reforms are part of a programme of work to simplify the planning system and make it less bureaucratic for everyone. The Government has already cut reams of unwieldy planning policy down to a tightly focused draft National Planning Policy Framework, published by Mr Clark on Monday this week.

Notes to editors

1. 3,200 planning applications in the financial year 2010 -11 took longer than 52 weeks to be determined.

2. The Draft National Planning Policy Framework can be found here:


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Published 29 July 2011