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Blears announces 'red-tape busting' planning review

The government has announced it is to carry out yet another ‘red tape busting review’ of the planning system – just days before the new ‘go-faster’ 1App forms come into force.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, Housing Minister Caroline Flint, and Business Secretary John Hutton said they wanted to ‘weed out bureaucratic hurdles and create a more efficient planning service.’

Among the key targets for the ministers will be the ‘unnecessary duplication of paperwork’ – meaning the government could again look at application paperwork, even though the long-awaited, all new, allegedly slimline ‘standard’ forms have yet to officially come in (due on 6 April).

The RIBA’s planning spokesman Peter Stewart called the move ‘Yes Minister stuff’.

He said: ‘You shouldn’t be cynical and on the face of it, if they succeed in addressing the problems then everybody will be happy.

‘But every government comes along and says it wants to cut red tape. The cast-iron rule of planning reform is that everything done to make the system simpler makes it more complicated.’

Other measures mooted under the review include removing delays after permission has been granted caused by arguments over pre-build conditions such as construction schedules, and the better use of technology.

Blears said: ‘Good progress is being made, but we want to create a more user-friendly system.

‘By removing red tape and unblocking the bottlenecks that are slowing down applications, we can create a planning system for people that makes it is easier to apply, easier to be heard and easier to be green.’

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