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Proposals to simplify planning applications announced

The government has launched a consultation into three key proposals aimed at speeding up planning applications

The proposals are for a reduction in nationally-prescribed information requirements for outline planning applications and a new requirement that councils update their local information requirements every two years.

The standard application form would also be simplified by amalgamating requirements for agricultural land declarations and ownership certificates. The consultation closes on 11 September.

The reform of secondary legislation has been announced three months after the government unveiled its long-awaited overhaul of the planning system.

It also emerged last week that planning fees would increase by 15 per cent starting in the autumn.

Planning minister Greg Clark said: ‘Our reforms to the planning system are making it simpler, clearer and more accessible to people in communities.

‘Following the simplification of the national planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework, these proposed changes streamline the process of applying for planning permission. Our aim is to have a system that applicants and members of communities can be confident will give a reliable, swift and fair outcome.’

A separate consultation has been launched on wide-ranging plans to overhaul the Use Classes Order and associated permitted development rights to allow more development to proceed without planning permission.

The proposals would establish permitted development rights for the conversion of agricultural buildings to uses supporting rural growth.

They would also increase the thresholds for permitted development rights for change of use between B1 and B8 classes and from B2 to B1 and B8.

Under the plans low-impact temporary uses would receive a two-year permitted development right and hotels would also be allowed to covert to dwellings without planning permission.

Johnny Dudgeon of Savills said: ‘Under the new proposals farmers and other landowners will be able to convert old barns for new commercial purposes, such as; farm shops, workshops, leisure facilities, cafes and even music venues have been proposed.

‘This is however only at consultation stage, but we believe this will be positive news for landowners if implemented, especially as it is anticipated that planning application fees will be increased this autumn.’

The consultation closes on 11 September.

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