Fast-tracking planning process will accelerate growth – Shakespeares

FAST-TRACKING the planning process is likely to accelerate growth and improve the local economy a Midland law firm has said.

Planning law specialists at Shakepeares said that any move by the Government to allow planning applications to bypass local authorities and be considered directly to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government would be a positive step.

A measure allowing developers to fast-track planning applications to central Government if they feel that local authorities are making “unnecessarily slow decisions” is expected to feature in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which is due to come into force in April 2013.

Paul Hunt, partner and planning law expert at Shakespeares in Birmingham, said: “The proposed measure to allow developers to bypass local authorities and seek the necessary permissions directly from the Secretary of State in a bid to speed up planning decisions is indicative of the sense of urgency that the Government now feels about driving through development projects and realising the economic benefits that they will bring.

“The fact is that some developers are so frustrated by the tendency of some local authorities to allow local politics or poor performance to slow down decision-making that action now needs to be taken. Importantly, local people and businesses will still have the opportunity to lodge opposition to any decisions made by the Secretary of State.”

Improving the planning process has been a key aspect of the Government’s strategy for its new Enterprise Zones. It hopes that by streamlining the process more red tape will be avoided and firms can relocate of develop new sites far quicker than is currently the case.