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Basic planning applications will no longer be given priority over complex business applications just to meet bureau...
Basic planning applications will no longer be given priority over complex business applications just to meet bureaucratic targets, planning minister Lord Falconer said.

New targets based on the country's top performers mean more low performing authorities will next year be subject to stricter best value measures. They replace the current longstanding national target to determine 80 per cent of all applications in eight weeks.

The new targets are:

* Major commercial and industrial development 60 per cent in 13 weeks

* Minor commercial and industrial development 65 per cent in 8 weeks

* All other applications 80 per cent in 8 weeks

Lord Falconer said:

'For too long, too many planning applications have been dealt with too slowly. Under best value the rest must learn from the best.

'Better handling of planning applications is a key responsibility for local planning departments.'

A standard was imposed on the 15 poorest performers this year and it has made them raise their game. Next year, 78 authorities will be in the frame and will be required to raise their performance still further.

Lord Falconer added:

'If they do not deliver what is expected of them, we have intervention powers at our disposal.'


1. The new best value targets are based on the current performance of the top 20 per cent of authorities. The Planning Performance Checklist, which the department issues twice a year, will, in future, rank local authorities on their performance against each of the three targets.

2. The new targets will underpin new best value indicators for planning in 2002/03. They will be also used as the basis for new Best Value performance standards proposed for 2002/03. Local planning authorities will be required to meet the minimum standard or face intervention under Best Value powers.

3. A consultation paper on best value indicators 2002/03 has also been published and is available on the DTLR website.

Chief planning officers in England are being notified of the new targets for handling planning applications. They are also receiving details of the proposed new best value indicators and standards for planning for 2002/03. The letter to chief planning officers will be available on the planning section of the DTLR website soon.

4. The most recent Planning Performance Checklist was issued on 29 June 2001.

The next Checklist is due in December.

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