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GOVERNMENT DRIVE TO IMPROVE LOCAL AUTHORITY PLANNING PERFORMANCE

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Measures to improve the planning process and raise the performance of ...
Measures to improve the planning process and raise the performance of

local planning authorities were announced yesterday at a meeting of

the Panel for Regulatory Accountability, chaired by cabinet office

minister, Mo Mowlam.

The proposals are designed to streamline the planning system at all

levels and give business and other users greater certainty.

Speaking before the panel, Nick Raynsford, planning minister at the

DETR, said:

'We are continuing to drive forward the Modernising Planning

programme to deliver improvements in performance.

'New regional planning policy guidance will be published shortly,

which will improve the arrangements for regional planning, promote

competition, economic development and regeneration and encourage

provision for clusters and major development sites.

'We are also encouraging the regional planning bodies to work with

business to ensure that policies on economic development, housing and

transport take account of business concerns.

'We have commissioned best practice research to help local

authorities speed up their development plan preparation, in line with

guidance we issued in December.

'Authorities performance on handling planning applications must be

improved. Under the best value regime we will be prepared to name and

shame any authorities whose performance remains poor.

'We will be announcing today, new rules and guidance to streamline

inquiry and other appeal procedures so that the decisions are made

more quickly but no less fairly.

'I hope shortly to make a further announcement about the fundamental

review of compulsory purchase law and procedures which is making good

progress.

'I am also pleased to say that next month the Local Government

Association will be launching a Planning Users Concordat, designed to

ensure that local planning authorities, business and local people

work closely together to deliver effective local planning.'

Commenting on rural planning issues, Mr Raynsford said:

'At a recent seminar attended by the National Farmers Union, the

Country Landowners Association and other key stakeholders, I

discussed ways in which planning authorities can work with farmers to

boost the rural economy. In the forthcoming Rural White Paper we will

be bringing forward a range of proposals to stimulate a more

diversified and sustainable rural economy, including planning

measures.'

Commenting on the proposals, Mo Mowlam said:

'Planning is one of the most important areas of regulation. It is

clear from the discussion, that there is scope for improving many

areas of the planning process and I am pleased to hear the positive

measures announced today by Nick Raynsford.'

NOTES

1. DETR issued guidance to local authorities in December 1999 on

new arrangements for speeding up the preparation of local

authority development plans.

2. The Planning Users Concordat has been agreed between the Local

Government Association and the business and voluntary sectors

3. The Panel for Regulatory Accountability was set up in December

1999 with a remit to modernise the regulatory system, simplify

existing regulation and ease regulatory pressures on business and

the public sector.

4. Its membership includes:

Marjorie Mowlam Minister for the Cabinet Office

Lord Falconer Minister of State, Cabinet Office

Graham Stringer Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

Stephen Byers Secretary of State, DTI

Andrew Smith Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Christopher Haskins Chair, Better Regulation Task Force

David Irwin Chief Executive, Small Business Service

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