Archive for January, 2012

If you are looking to make a ‘minor’ application, for a small scale development it really does pay to make sure that the application is as complete and throrough as possible before submitting it.

Many Planning Authorities in the North East of England are imposing strict time limits to allow them to meet their Government imposed targets, particularly for applications with an 8-week determination target that are delegated to the Planning Officer for decision – these are applications where a decision can be reached without going before the Council’s Planning Committee.

These time limits can mean that applications need to be withdrawn, or worse are refused by the Council, where information is incomplete or when issues arise requiring further attention and resolution would take the application beyond the 8-week target.

This can seem unfair given the huge amount of work which needs to be undertaken and often doesn’t even guarantee a successful outcome.  Indeed, withdrawing an application to avoid refusal (refusal is nearly always better avoided if possible), preparing the additional information and then re-submitting can mean that an application that should take 8 weeks to approve can take 18-20 weeks!

It really does pay to get advice before you start and to make sure that you are providing the planning authority will all of the information that they might reasonably require to properly consider your application.  We offer free consultations and will always let you know what we think of your chances, good or bad.

If you regularly read this blog, you will no doubt be aware that the Localism Act received Royal Assent in November 2011.

As the Government states; “[the Act] takes power from central government and hands it back to local authorities and communities – giving them the freedom and flexibility to achieve their own ambitions”.

The majority of the Act has now been brought into fruition with the remainder coming into force in April 2012. Quite a significant chunk of the legislation related to public administration mechanisms and has little impact on the planning system, such as accountability of local pay, reforms to social housing regulations and the ‘Freeing Cities’ initiative.

The big news for planners comes with modification to enforcement procedures which will bring in new powers for Local Authorities to take action against those who deliberately conceal unauthorised development.

Local Councillors will also be pleased to know that the rules on ‘predetermination’ have been clarified; freeing councillors to express their opinions for local issues without the fear of legal challenge.

This years EcoBuild conference has been announced with keynote speakers including Monty Don, Greg Dyke, Tony Juniper, Alan Johnson, Alice Roberts, Janet Street Porter, Angela Brady, Paul Morrell, Mark Prisk and Maggie Philbin.

We throroughly recommend attending the free event which will include an extensive program of over 130 sessions spanning topics as diverse as Collaborative consumption, Growing out of trouble, The city after now, Energy and innovation in buildings, Installer connect and Refurbishing Britain.

Not to mention the events, the exhibition floor will host more than a dozen interactive attractions providing solutions and advice on everything from eco and sustainable.

The event takes place at London’s ExCeL on Tuesday 2oth to Thursday 22nd of March 2012. It’s thoroughly recommended and free to attend.  Click here to register for your free ticket now.

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