A 'three tier system' for planning decisions, as outlined in the report accompanying the Chancellor's budget statement, is 'not really' a change to the status quo, Steve Quartermain, the chief planner at DCLG, has said. George Osborne's Budget recent statement described a "refreshed approach" to planning based on a three-tier system to decide the appropriate level of permission. It said permitted development rights would be used for small-scale changes, prior approval rights for development requiring consideration of specific issues, and planning permission for the largest scale development.
Quartermain said: "Potentially the prior approval and the permitted development is where the shift has taken place, but in terms of a shift in thinking, I think the government has for a number years thought that that's where it should be - that you shouldn't be asking for planning permission for things that really don't need planning permission."
Mike Kiely, Society President, told Planning magazine "if the changes involved moving large numbers of non-major applications out of the planning applicaation system it would have huge implications and potentially be very damaging."
Kiely added that any planning 'free for all' could "result in a higher likelihood of poor quality development that could threaten further investment in an area."
Kiely also commented that "LA planning teams would receive lower income in application fees from permitted development and prior approval applications. Authorities would also be less able to obtain affordable housing through s106 aggreements."
Finally, Kiely warned that "prior notification still takes up officers' time. You won't free up armies of planners to deal with large applications."
Mike Kiely, POS President 2013/14