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Ex-Barratt head to lead planning review

The former chief executive of Barratt Developments will head up a new planning review aimed at weeding out bureaucratic hurdles.

In an announcement made today the Government said David Pretty would work with the chief executive of Essex County Council, Joanna Killian, to undertake the assessment.

A major reform of the system is already underway but it is hoped the new review will improve the planning application process and make it more user-friendly.

It was launched jointly by communities secretary Hazel Blears, business secretary John Hutton and housing and planning minister Caroline Flint.

Plans for an investment of £3.2 million into advisory service Planning Aid – double the Government’s usual annual commitment – were also revealed.

The review is expected to look at a number of issues in the current system, including the unnecessary duplication of paperwork, delays caused by unresolved legal steps and the under-utilisation of new technology including the internet.

Mr Hutton said: "We recognise the current planning regime is one of the top five concerns for companies investing in the UK. Substantial improvements have already been made, and this review will now concentrate on how we can cut red tape and speed up the process without reducing protections for local communities.”