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'Virtual' planning application changes backed

Planning chiefs have thrown their weight behind plans to remove the need for councils to advertise planning applications in local newspapers

A number of alternatives were suggested in the government’s consultation on publicity for applications, such as advertising on the internet for a period of 21 days. It is estimated that such a move could save councils around £35,000 a year each.

Site notices are currently advertised for seven days. Online applications are advertised for 14 days and in newspapers for 21 days. The proposals follow recommendations in the Killian-Pretty review.

Planning Officers Society spokesman John Silvester said: ‘We have been pushing for some time to allow councils to use other means such as a website.’

A pilot project relaxing statutory requirements to advertise applications in newspapers in the London Borough of Camden - which unexpectedly rejected Richard Rogers’ British Museum extension (pictured above) last month - enabled the authority to save enough money to employ a community engagement officer for planning.

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