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The planning system must be even more accessible and easy to understand, said Planning Minister David Curry today....
The planning system must be even more accessible and easy to understand, said Planning Minister David Curry today.

That is why the Department of the Environment, the Welsh Office and the National Planning Forum have worked together to produce the latest initiative under the Citizen's Charter - `Planning: Charter Standards' - which is launched today.

The publication is the result of close co-operation between central and local government. Everyone should now be able to find out easily how the planning system works and what a good standard of planning service involves - whether they are applying for planning permission themselves or commenting on a neighbour's plans or the council's own development plan.

They should understand the planning system so they can get involved as much as possible. This new publication sets out service standards for councils and central government when they carry out their responsibilities under the planning system. These standards are designed to ensure that all customers of the planning system are be treated politely and fairly by central and local government alike.

The booklet states that a good standard of service by councils includes: making a planning officer available to give general information and advice; answering telephone inquiries within one day; giving decisions on 80% of applications within eight weeks

Targets for central government cover: answering written inquires about appeals within five days; deciding 80% of written representation appeals within 19 weeks; Councillor Jim Swanwick, Chairman of the National Planning Forum, welcomed this joint initiative which sets out for the first time what local and central government agree is a good standard of service for all the main planning functions.

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