Planning Process in Major Step Forward

Article excerpt

Byline: Jenny Waddington Business editor

THE Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership has taken another "major step forward" in making the planning process easier.

The Planning Business Group of the LEP has drawn up and had agreed a protocol for the bodies which, by law, have to comment on planning applications. The protocol will require the consulting bodies, the applicant and the planning authority to sign up to certain commitments which are all designed to smooth the path to planning.

Coventry and Warwickshire LEP board member and city councillor Lynnette Kelly, who has responsibility for planning, said the protocol was the latest of several advances made by the Planning Business Group all with the aim of improving the planning process.

Coun Kelly said: "We know that when investors and developers want to relocate or invest in an area they want to do so quickly, simply and with the minimum of fuss.

"This means we have to make sure that our processes are sharp and efficient and that's what this work has all been about."

The statutory consultees include the Environment Agency, Canals and Rivers Trust, Natural England and the local flood authority.

Anna Rose, Rugby Borough Council's head of planning and culture, chairs the Planning Business Group and said the protocol was the latest in a string of improvements introduced across Coventry and Warwickshire by the LEP.

"I think it is fair to say that when it comes to statutory consultees, planning has a fairly congested landscape and we knew there must be a way of making the process more co-ordinated for all parties," she said.

"Over the last few months we have met all the relevant bodies and have great buy-in to what we have been trying to achieve.

"Growth depends to an extent on development, so transparency and efficiency in the planning process can be a great help. …