Many authorities are not aware of the extent of the changes the imminent reshaping of the Highways Agency into Highways England will bring about.
Stephen Hill, Secretary of the POS Development Management Network, told a Planning reporter that authorities may experience greater collaboration with Highways England, as the new body could take a more positive approach to unlocking problems than its predecessor.
Hill also raised concern about how some aspects of the new regime will work in practice. He said the fact Highways England will not be making an explicit direction on applications could place additional burdens on local authorities, who he says will need access to expertise to analyse and potentially challenge Highways England's recommendations.
"The Highways Agency ... with its ability to direct refusal is very much in charge of that part of the process," Hill pointed out. "The change passes some of that responsibility to local authorities, and they could come under quite [a bit] of pressure from developers to challenge what the agency is saying."