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Govt backs proposals to reduce planning system bureaucracy

New proposals to reduce bureaucracy in the planning system by removing the need for it to deal with many small scale commercial applications have been backed by the Government.

The Killian Pretty Review by Essex County Council chief executive Joanna Killian and former Barratt Developments chief executive David Pretty recommends that around 40 per cent of “minor non-residential, mainly commercial, planning applications, such as for small scale alterations and extensions” should be taken out of the planning system and subjected to a “much quicker process”.

Housing and planning minister Margaret Beckett said: “This is a thorough analysis that pinpoints where the application process can free up resources and be much less bureaucratic.

"We will act immediately to take forward the recommendations as a matter of urgency so we deliver savings to quickly."

The report also proposes improving the pre-application phase of the process, particularly for major developments, in order to ensure a much greater focus on getting developers and councils – to “sort out key issues” that could cause lengthy delays later in the process.

These, and other recommendations, will speed up the process and improve its effectiveness and transparency, according to the report.

Ms Killian said: "Our proposals will free up council resources to focus on major developments or controversial cases.”

It could also result in up to £300 million of savings for councils, applicants and the wider economy each year.

British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace said: “These recommendations could make a real difference to the planning system and to the costs of developers.”