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Survey highlights under-resourced planning departments

by on October 15, 2015

Some of England’s major cities are taking well over six months to determine major new planning applications with both developers and local authorities highlighting resource-strapped planning departments as a key barrier to development, according to an influential and authoritative annual survey.

The majority of developers polled in the fourth Annual Planning Survey by the British Property Federation and GL Hearn, part of Capita plc believe higher planning fees could be part of a potential solution, helping local authorities shorten waiting times and improve performance.

The survey found that the average submission to determination time for a major planning application is 32 weeks across London, Greater Manchester and Bristol and the surrounding area, over double the Government target of 13 weeks. In addition to this, and despite a worsening housing crisis, the overall volume of major applications determined in London fell by 26 per cent.

Other key findings included that the average submission to determination time is 27 weeks in Greater Manchester, Bristol and the surrounding area while the volume of major planning applications determined has fallen by 26 per cent in London, increased by 19 per cent in Manchester, and stayed the same in Bristol and the surrounding area.

Commenting on the findings, Shaun Andrews, GL Hearn’s head of investor and developer planning, said: “This year’s survey shows that the planning system needs investment and that requires action across the board.

“For their part, developers need to speak with a single voice and make it clear what levels of service they need and how much they are prepared to pay for it.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the British Property Federation, said: “This report shows quite clearly that local authority planning departments are struggling to cope as a result of the efforts to find savings across the public sector, and that this is having a negative impact on local authorities’ ability to deliver a timely and efficient service .”

View the press release

Roger Milne

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