The Society has written to the DCLG Chief Planner regarding this Order:
Dear Mr Quartermain,
The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment No. 2) Order 2012
At our recent meeting we discussed the implications on hard pressed planning authorities of the introduction of a statement into planning decisions which explains how, in dealing with the application, the local planning authority have worked with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner based on seeking solutions to problems arising in relation to dealing with a planning application.
The whole ethos of the development management approach adopted by planning authorities is to wherever possible work positively with an applicant to resolve planning problems and to achieve development in line with national and local planning policy. In particular planning authorities welcome early pre-application engagement between applicant and authority. However, the problem with the new requirement is that it introduces a significant burden on planning authorities in having to accurately summarise how they have dealt with the application in a positive and pro-active manner. Most authorities are facing significant reductions in their funding and are struggling to deliver a quality and timely planning services to help deliver government's growth agenda. We do not believe that the introduction of this requirement will improve the quality or speed of planning decisions but in fact will act as a further burden deflecting staff from their key work. In addition it is unclear how a local authority will be expected to respond when they receive a wholly unacceptable planning application.
There is a further problem in that the inclusion of the statement on the decision notice itself opens up the prospect of Judicial Reviews. Thus, there will be greater uncertainty of outcome and still more bureaucracy at a time when we are endeavouring to promote growth through development.
The society is all for streamlining the development management system in ways that help both councils and applicants and I and my planning colleagues are committed to facilitating sustainable development as quickly as we can but we are convinced that this particular requirement does the very opposite. I do hope that the opportunity is taken to reflect on this matter and to consider dropping this requirement at the present time.
David Evans, Junior Vice President