Wandsworth's Seema Manchanda questions planning proposal

Thu 29th November 2012, 11:55 am

Wandsworth Council's assistant director for planning and environmental services has raised concerns about the government's proposal that planning application fees should be refunded if a decision is not reached within 26 weeks.

The proposal, published last week, will not replace current statutory time limits for determining applications, currently set at eight and 13 weeks depending on the complexity of the proposal.

If a local planning authority has not reached a decision within this statutory time limit, and has not obtained written consent from the applicant, the latter can launch an appeal to the coummunities secretary.

The Department for Communities and Local Government's new guarantee proposal aims to futher push councils to decide on planning applications in a timely fashion.

But Manchanda said: "Sometimes it is better to spend a little longer than the statutory timeframe allows to negotiate a better planning outcome for the applicant and stakeholders than to make a quick but poorer quality decision.’

"The Government’s proposal to return planning fees if timescales are not met does nothing to allow discretion in those cases."

The consultation will run for eight weeks until 17 January 2013.

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