ENVIRONMENT Minister Alex Attwood has announced a range of improvements that will speed up the planning process and reduce costs for applicants.
Chiefly the improvements will mean that many small shop and office owners will no longer need to apply for planning permission to extend their properties; documentation to accompany a planning application will be reduced resulting in less expense for applicants; and there will be much better control over demolition where works are likely to have significant effects on the environment.
Commenting Mr Attwood said: “These changes are to improve planning and to help in the downturn. I will outline further measurements in the near future – these are useful interventions now with more to come. These measures are all part of my ongoing commitment to cut red tape in the planning system to help boost the economy whilst protecting and enhancing our environment.
“Increasing the range of development that no longer needs planning permission will make it easier for owners of shops and offices to undertake minor building works such as small extensions to their property.
“Importantly these new rules strike a balance between freeing businesses to make improvements and limiting the size of an extension so that neighbours are protected. It is important to point out that larger more intrusive extensions will still require full planning permission.”
The Minister also addressed concerns about demolition of buildings which have a significant impact on the environment with the introduction of new planning control arrangements and guidance.
“Earlier this year I introduced regulations to improve the planning process for development projects involving Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). I am also publishing new guidance on planning related environmental matters which will set out how the new arrangements will work in practice."
The Minister concluded: “These measures, along with changes to the type of developments that can be undertaken without planning permission for industrial and warehouse buildings, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals will contribute to reducing red tape and remove an unnecessary burden from the planning system.
“The changes that I have announced today reflect my commitment to ongoing planning reform. This will help promote a speedier, more cost effective and more responsive service for everyone.”