Written statement by Stephen Hammond, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport.
Today I am publishing an interim response to the consultation that closed on 24 August detailing proposals to streamline the process of applying for the stopping up or diversion of a highway, where this is required for the purpose of property development.
This interim response is considering only option 1 of the consultation. The remaining options and consultation responses will be considered and a full response, including proposals for a way forward, will be published by the end of November. The foundation of all 3 of the main policy options is a speeding up of the process by allowing stopping up and planning applications to run concurrently, namely option 1.
The large majority of respondents, comprising 3 main groups, namely developers, local authorities and those affected by stopping up decisions, gave broad support for allowing stopping up and planning applications to be made concurrently, with agreement that it would speed up the process and reduce burdens. We will seek an early legislative opportunity to implement this change.
The government committed to improving the stopping up application process in the 2011 Autumn Statement and this will help to deliver the government’s growth agenda, by removing unnecessary burdens faced by businesses, speeding up the application process and removing unnecessary bureaucracy. The change will play a useful role in encouraging investment and therefore growth in local communities.
This interim response to the consultation document will be available in the libraries of both Houses and on the department’s website.