Magazine article Public Finance

Planning Delays Laid at Whitehall's Door

Magazine article Public Finance

Planning Delays Laid at Whitehall's Door

Article excerpt

Town hall leaders have hit back angrily after ministers pledged this week to 'bust red tape' and 'weed out bureaucracy' to speed up the sluggish planning regime.

The Local Government Association rounded on the government following the launch of a review of planning by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears and housing minister Caroline Flint on March 25.

Blears said she wanted to tackle the 'slow and cumbersome' parts of the system, such as unnecessary paperwork and delays in finalising schemes after outline permission has been granted.

But Paul Bettison, chair of the LGA's environment board, pointed the finger at central government for causing much of the delay with its excessive bureaucratic demands.

'Councils don't want pointless delay, complexity and cost in the planning system. The government s review needs to recognise that it arises from a variety of causes, not least from the requirements of 2,000 pages of policy statements issued by government,' he warned.

'While democratically accountable local councils want good-quality homes and commercial development it is also inevitable that sometimes they will have to say no to poor quality or inappropriate proposals on behalf of the people whom they are elected to serve.'

Relations between central and local government are already strained due to the controversial Planning Bill currenüy before Parliament, which will take decisions over large infrastructure projects out of local authority control. …

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