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    Changes to streamline planning application process on way

    The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published its response to its consultation on a package of measures to simplify and streamline the application process in England.

    The response confirmed the administration would introduce proposed reforms to the validation regime for planning applications, Design and Access Statements and changes to decision notices. These changes will come into force on 25 June.

    New rules will mean only major developments, some applications in designated areas and listed building consents will require Design and Access Statements.

    “Reducing the number of applications that require a Design and Access Statement would remove statutory burdens on applicants, but it is not considered that this would be at the expense of good design and accessibility. As such, the proposal will be taken forward as consulted on,” said DCLG.

    In designated areas – conservation areas and World Heritage sites – a lower threshold will be involved: one or more dwellings or a building or buildings where the floor space created by the development is 100 square metres or more.

    DCLG said the changes would not affect an applicant’s ability to explain or justify their design and neither would they alter a local planning authority’s ability to apply its design and access policies when determining applications.

    Proposals to remove some of the requirements for the contents of Design and Access Statements, including explanations of certain specific design principles and details of access maintenance, will also be instigated.

    At the same time the Government is introducing a new approach to the validation of planning applications under which the information a local authority requires must be “genuinely necessary” and material to the application.

    The department has also decided to press ahead with its plan to remove the requirement for local planning authorities to provide a written summary of reasons on decision notices when granting planning permission.

    It argued that planning officer reports and committee minutes would explain the full rationale for a decision. “The summary on decision notices therefore adds little to the transparency or quality of the decision-making process”.

    Download the Government’s response to the public consultation on this package.

    Planning Portal

    6 June 2013