On Friday, Steve Quartermain issued a letter to all LPAs informing them of the proposed introduction of the “Planning Guarantee”.

The Planning Guarantee follows up on the pledges in the Plan for Growth published alongside the Budget.  Its main aim is to ensure that all planning applications are determined swiftly and in any event within a year.  It is proposed that the clock will start ticking for this when a valid planning application is received by the LPA and it will only stop once the application is determined and a decision notice issued.  The Planning Guarantee will also put the pressure on PINS as if an application is refused and the applicant wishes to appeal, the clock will again start to run from the date the appeal is validated by PINS and only stops once the appeal is determined.  Should the LPA fail to determine an application – the clock continues to run.

As a key mechanism to ensure the LPAs performance levels, it is proposed that there will be a form of league table showing how the LPAs perform against the Guarantee.  In addition, the government also intends to lighten the burden for applicants in terms of what documents they are required to submit with a planning application, whilst at the same time ensuring the LPA has enough material to be able to determine such applications.

The Government is asking for comments on all these issues before the end of August and in advance of the consultation on the Planning Guarantee this autumn – if there is anything you feel should be raised, you should email the CLG (info.requirements@communities.gsi.gov.uk).