Councils will compete to process planning applications and be able to offer fast track application services, like those available for getting a passport, in a shake up of the planning process under proposals out to consultation.
Ministers want the pilots to tackle the lack of incentive for councils to improve and speed up their planning service leading to “drawn out applications and local frustration” for both housebuilders and individual applicants.
The proposals are expected to boost housebuilding and speed up the planning application process.
The proposals will increase local choice by giving applicants the choice of whether to submit their plans to the local council, a competing council or a government approved organisation that would process applications up until the decision point.
Councils will also be able to offer the fast track planning application service – either through competition pilots or potentially through devolution deals.
Decision making on planning applications would remain with the local council to ensure decisions are taken locally and maintain the democratic link between local people and decision makers.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:
“Council planning departments play a vital role in getting local housebuilding off the ground, but for too long they have had no incentive to get things done quickly or better, resulting in drawn out applications and local frustration.
These proposals will be a boost for housebuilders looking to build much needed new homes for hard working families and first time buyers, and for local people looking to get a planning permission for home improvements through their local council quicker.”