Boston tops for speedy planning decisions
Boston Borough Council has been revealed to be in the top ten of all local authorities for speed of determining planning applications.
Boston determined 81.3 per cent of its major planning applications within 13 weeks. Its total number of major decisions between July, 2011, and December, 2012, was the seventh highest among the top ten.
It approves some 96 per cent of all planning applications submitted to it, with poor quality and inappropriate developments often being filtered out well before an application is even submitted.
The figures have been highlighted following Government plans to put poor performing planning authorities into "special measures".
"Planning", the journal of the Royal Town Planning Institute, assessed the performance of all planning authorities following a suggestion that poor performing councils could be bypassed and planning decisions for their areas made by the Government's Planning Inspectorate.
Coventry was the top performing council in the "Planning" analysis, with 95.5 per cent of its major decisions made within 13 weeks. The worst performing in the "Planning" assessment was Horsham which determined only 19.8 per cent of its major applications within the 13-week timeframe - the national target. It said it had improved its position to 78 per cent by June.
The cut-off mark was those which failed to determine 30 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks over a two-year period. The Department for Communities and Local Government will assess all planning authorities' performances between July, 2011, and June, 2013. "Planning" says it is expected it will announce initial designations in October.
Leader of Boston Borough Council, Cllr Peter Bedford, said: "This further goes to further show that in Boston borough we take a positive and pro-growth approach and are keen to see new sustainable development get off the ground as quickly as possible. Our planning team in Boston has worked hard over the past several years to streamline itself and to ensure major developers receive good effective pre-planning application advice and are able to submit high-quality planning applications that can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
"Often we hear of planning being criticised for holding up needed development, but in Boston we are proud to have a helpful and accessible planning service and one that seeks to understand the needs of the development industry".
Steve Lumb, the council's Head of Built Environment and Development, echoed the council leader's comments, by adding: "Our planning team is very much open for business and these recently-released national figures highlight how focused they are at assisting developers to submit planning applications fit for purpose - when they do that we can more efficiently and effectively consider them within a relatively short time period to arrive at the right decision for everyone".