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Figures expose huge delays in planning process

New research has proved what most architects believed they already knew - that the planning system is suffering massive delays.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) figures, released yesterday (27 November), show that winning planning approval takes on average nine months - nearly three times the government's target.

In the week when a new housing planning policy statement is scheduled, the research supplies damning evidence of the shortcomings of the UK's planning performance.

The HBF figures show that local authorities take on average 248 days to issue planning approval after an application is submitted.

The Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) performance target for major applications is for 60 per cent to be determined in 91 days.

The current process includes an average delay of 17 days between submission and application registration, whereas the statutory target is 24 hours.

The figures also revealed that more than three months are spent in delays between a committee resolution to grant permission and the issuing of the decision notice.

Appeals take an average of 309 days, or more than 10 months, from being lodged to a decision being received.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Basley said: 'At a time when Britain faces the most acute housing shortage since the Industrial Revolution, we are seeing significant and systematic delays in the planning process.'

A DCLG spokesperson said: 'Everyone agrees that planning decisions need to be made more quickly to provide greater certainty to all concerned.

'That is why the Queen's Speech set out that there will be further reform of the planning system to make it more streamlined and efficient. The Prime Minister reiterated this commitment to this aim in a speech to the CBI.

'Kate Barker's interim housing report recognised that progress had been made and shortly she will make recommendations about how the planning system can be further speeded up and made more efficient.'

by Richard Vaughan

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