Simplifying Decision Taking

Greg Clarke’s curiously scrambled grammer in the phrase ‘decision taking’ is rather apt now so many decisions have been taken from local planning authorities.

Planning policy and guidance have been simplified, despite Bol’es reluctance for legal reforms the first step has been taken by merging CA consent with Planning permission this autumn.

For decision MAKING however it gets ever more complicated, You now have PD, PD but prior approval, proposed PD with prior approval and consideration of plan policy (very confusing), planning permission and major infrastructure consent.  Even what is the LPA for decision making purposes gets complicated this autumn.

We have struggled for 50 years to properly implement the Dobry commission report, we have also failed to properly learn from reform in Scotland about removing minor schemes from a national appeals programme.

So I would suggest we have four and only four categories of none major infrastructure applications.

PD – Such applications would simply require planning permission or not, no ifs or buts or prior approval.

Minor Consents  – Such applications would place the onus on neighbor notification on the applicant, if not decided within 4 weeks they would automatically be approved, if refused they would automatically go to a local appeals panel, half from cllrs not on the decision taking committee, half independent professionals.   This category would include small householder applications and other the government of the day wanted to speed up. There would be no further appeal.  National policy or guidance can restrict what is material for certain classes of such applications.

Normal Consents  – These would be normal applications which if no decision was made after 8 weeks it would automatically go to the local appeals panel, and then of refused would automatically be passed on to PINS unless the applicant refused to pay a fee, the statement of case being the original planning statement.  All such appeals would be dealt with through written reps.

Major Consents – As above but there would be 12 weeks for decision (including EA cases). Only major cases could be heard by committee all others would be delegated.  Appeals would be dealt with through hearings and it would be PINS sole decision whether or not because of the volume of reps whether or not there as an inquiry.

In all cases the presumption was only original submissions and reports would be dealt with by PINS unless commenting on new evidence or the reasons for refusal.  New evidence would only be allowed if permitted by PINS.

No need for ‘special measures’ authorities or procedures in this system.

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