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LGA URGES LOCAL AUTHORITIES: PLAN YOUR PLANNING

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LGA planning chiefs have urged local authorities to meet the highest possible standards in planning practices. ...
LGA planning chiefs have urged local authorities to meet the highest possible standards in planning practices.

This follows the news that some local authorities are failing to deliver their area-wide local plans in the time-frame set by the government.

Keith House, chair of the LGA's planning executive, said: 'There is much excellent planning work undertaken by local authorities, and the vast majority of them have authority-wide development plans.

'But we cannot tolerate the lengthy delays from some authorities, which inevitably reflect badly on all local authority planning departments.

'We would urge those local authorities who have not submitted on time to tackle any outstanding problems that may be delaying the delivery of development plans.

'That is surely the best way to ensure that communities and businesses are aware of the high standards within the local planning process.

'We would also hope that the government will work with local authorities in delivering excellence in local planning - and not simply criticise the efforts currently being made.'

The LGA will be publishing a report on 'reforming local planning' in Spring 2000. This aims to add to the debate on creating a more positive and accessible planning system.

NOTE

1) A statutory requirement for local authorities to prepare an area-wide local plan was introduced in 1991.

Meanwhile, the LGA has also urged the government to 'keep planning local'. They have urged ministers to give local authorities more control over developments by statutory undertakers.

Current legislation means that such developments can go ahead - despite the fact that local communities and authorities might oppose them - even if they impact on parks and conservation areas.

Mr House said: 'Local authorities are committed to delivering the best quality environment possible for their communities.

'But the current planning situation with statutory undertakers makes our job of delivering local planning objectives extremely difficult.

'We are urging the government to give local authorities more control over this complex area of planning.'

NOTES

1) In 1998 the DETR published 'The use of permitted development rights by statutory undertakers'. This study sought to provide a context for the review of permitted development rights (PDRs) by government, to tackle the anachronisms between the legal construction of PDRs and current trends in development control. The study highlighted confusion in the PDR procedures and the way legislation addresses them.

2) It was anticipated that the government would act on the findings of this study, as local authorities are increasingly concerned about the operations of statutory undertakers under PDRs.

3) The LGA is calling on the government to review the operation of PDRs based on some key principles:

Given the change in status of many statutory undertakers since PDRs were introduced, PDRs should be minimalist in nature.

Statutory undertakers should be obliged to both consult local authorities on their forward work programmes and notify them of emergency works.

Statutory undertakers should discuss with local authorities the design and materials used in the course of their work. They should also control and minimise the impact of their work on neighbours and the environment.

4) The LGA believes that changes to the general permitted development order (GPDO) 1995, reflecting these concerns, would produce better design solutions and reduce disruption to communities.

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