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Major planning applications held up by lack of council resources

Reports are suggesting that it is now taking six months for a planning application to be considered, apparently due to lack of resources by the council department. The delays are frustrating both the relevant councils as well as developers, according the majority of developers they suggest that increasing the cost of an application could be the answer.

The time between the submission of an application and the determination of it is now running at 32 weeks across major cities including London, Greater Manchester and Bristol and the surrounding area, this is more than twice the 13 week target set by the government.

The housing situation in the UK is worsening and the delays to planning applications is not helping, the number has fallen and in London alone it was down by 26% according to figures received from the fourth Annual Planning Survey from the British Property Federation. The private and public sector have expressed their concerns with lack of resources and local authorities are quick to point out that the planning system is not operating as well as it was in 2010. Naturally this has lead applicants to be totally dissatisfied with the time it takes for a planning application to be determined, 65% have said that they would happy more, but only if it would speed up the process.

Shaun Andrews, GL Hearn’s head of investor and developer planning has said that Britain needs to get building again and to do this it is important to get the planning agreed. He re-iterated that in order to tackle the housing crisis, development activity is critical and the planning system needs investment and that requires action across the board. It is clear that that planning authorities have the right people with the right skills and powers in place to drive forward an agenda for growth and it of course needs resources.

Chief executive of the British Property Federation, Melanie Leech pointed out that the as a result of the report, this clearly showed that local authority planning departments are struggling to cope, which is a result of cuts across the whole of the public sector. She went on to suggest that there is potentially scope for the private sector to plug this gap and she urged the government to begin a dialogue with the property industry to see how this might be taken forward.

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