Football stadiums and car plants are among the developments set to benefit from the extension of the government’s fast-track planning process for infrastructure projects.
Planning minister Nick Boles has announced plans to extend the fast-track planning system to cover significant business and commercial projects that deliver jobs and boost the economy.
Previously the scheme was only open to nationally significant infrastructure projects in the transport, energy, water, waste and waste water sectors.
Under the proposed changes developers can ask for their application to be determined at a national level through the infrastructure planning system.
It will ensure decisions are made within 12 months from the beginning of examination, but existing requirements to consult local communities are retained.
The government proposes to include the following types of development in the fast-track system:
- Manufacturing and processing, including car factories and food processing plants
- Leisure, tourism, sports and recreation, including sports stadiums, theme parks and hotel complexes
- Offices and research and development centres
- Warehousing, storage and distribution sites
- Conference and exhibition centres
- Aggregate and industrial minerals, such as sand and gravel.
Mr Boles said: “We are determined to help bring about new investment and jobs. Making sure businesses can have confidence in quicker and better planning decisions is an important part of that.
“Opening up the fast-track system will help get sustainable development underway sooner and minimise delays that only bring uncertainty for local people and businesses looking to create jobs.
“The new fast-track measure has the potential to save business tens of thousands of pounds in planning fees and reduce the planning process by months,” he added.
Changes to planning procedures announced by Mr Boles are part of a package of government measures to improve the planning system.
It aims to reduce confusing and overlapping red tape and cut the number of consents required by developers on every application. The package also intends to introduce a simpler, streamlined planning process to boost firms in the 24 enterprise zones.