Planning Applications get ‘streamlined’

1st July, 2014

In recent years the time and costs associated with preparing planning applications have increased in response to the complex requirements of planning and environmental legislation. In some instances, this has resulted in submissions for relatively straightforward planning applications becoming excessively large and complicated. 

In an attempt to rationalise these requirements, in June 2013 the government introduced a number of new measures. These included:

Design & Access Statements: These will now only be required for major applications unless the site is within Conservation Areas, World Heritage Sites or the development affects a listed building;

Content of Design & Access Statements: Statements will still have to explain design concepts, principles, context and matters relating to access but will no longer have to follow a prescribed format;

Validation of Planning Applications: The Government has now brought into force the ability to appeal against invalidation under S78 of the Town and Country Planning Act;

Changes to Decision Notices: The requirement for the Council to provide a written summary of reasons for approval (and a summary of relevant policies and proposals) on Decision Notices when granting planning permission has now been removed;

These changes follow amendments introduced in January 2013 for the validation of Outline Planning applications. 

For Outline Applications it is no longer necessary to provide details concerning scale or layout where they have been identified as Reserved Matters. 

Further changes being considered for the coming year include:

  • Raising the thresholds for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Possible further reductions to planning practice guidance (circulars, letters and policy statements)

It remains to be seen whether the changes will noticeably improve validation and determination processes. Councils will still be able to request any additional information they consider necessary for the determination of a planning application.