Fewer than 20 councils to be subject to 'special measures'

Fewer than 20 local planning authorities will be subject to 'special measures' allowing developers to bypass their planning departments, the planning minister Nick Boles has said.

Speaking during the committee stage of the new Growth and Infrastructure Bill, Boles said that "on the basis of last year’s figures" a "very small number" of councils would be stripped of their planning powers under a clause in the bill.

The bill, published last month, would allow planning applications to be made directly to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) if councils have a poor track record in the speed of decisions or the proportion of applications overturned on appeal.

Boles said that as the criteria for determining which councils should be placed in special measures have yet to be published he could not "single out" the authorities that will be affected by them. But he added: "It will be fewer than 20, and it might not be more than 10. Of course, if performance gets a lot worse, the same measures may capture more authorities."

Boles said that the councils placed in special measures would be given "a moment of intensive, wrap-around care". He said: "That is what we are thinking about in order, hopefully, to restore the authorities their full democratic control once their performance is returned to an acceptable level."

The full PlanningResource item can be read here.

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