What does it mean when Planning Departments go into ‘Special Measures?’

The news last week that Bromsgrove District Council’s Planning Department had gone into ‘special measures’ has wide implications for the Midlands property market, but what does it mean.

Mid December and the Department for Communities and Local Government served the designation notice on the planning service at Bromsgrove, despite the authority lobbying against the action.

The Government sets a target of 13 weeks for major planning applications to be determined, and authorities failing to consistently deliver this risk a designation notice. Bromsgrove has fallen foul on this.

The decision is a major blow for Bromsgrove as, until further notice, a major developer will have the choice of having a decision made by the authority’s planning department or by the Planning Inspectorate.

From our point of view the news that Bromsgrove District Council Planning Department has been taken into special measures serves as a reminder to us all that the Government is committed to ensuring that the planning system functions in a prompt and positive manner and that local authorities, even with the benefit of the localism agenda behind them, must use this power responsibly and expeditiously and those that do not respond in a positive manner will have this power removed.

Again this confirms the importance of the planning system to the delivery of economic development and the need for all Councils to treat development proposals positively and quickly if the rate of economic growth is to be sustained.

The news from Bromsgrove is knock back for the Council administration. Developers looking to build in Bromsgrove can now have major applications determined by the Bristol Inspectorate and not the local authority after this Government action.

If you have land holdings in Bromsgrove or are considering development options in the Borough then these are interesting times and you may need an independent planner’s expert view, which we can provide.

For more information contact one of the Planning Team at Harris Lamb.