The most controversial planning decisions could be decided up to five months faster, a major independent review has found.
Bridget Rosewell CBE said that that the average time to judge a planning appeal could be cut from almost a year to six months.
There are 15,000 appeals against local authority planning decisions every year, but only around 300 of these are sufficiently complex to warrant an enquiry.
Rosewell’s report listed outdated administrative processes, poor ICT and a lack of suitable inspectors as some of the reasons that planning appeal decisions take so long.
Roswell’s report makes 22 recommendations, including that the Planning Inspectorate creates a new online portal for the submission of appeals.
The report commits the Planning Inspectorate to outline a strategy for recruiting additional inspectors, in order to reduce the backlog of planning applications.
It also suggests that the government should consider charging those bringing appeals, to help with the accommodation costs of enquiries.
Extended appeal decision times have been blamed for increasing costs for developers and causing anxiety about the future development of an area.
Commenting on the report, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP said: ‘Planning appeal inquiries have held up development and kept communities waiting in limbo – 47 weeks on average is far too long to wait for a decision on something so important as a proposal for new development.
‘Reducing the time it takes to secure crucial decisions ensures the delivery of more homes, in the right places.’
The Rosewell Review is part of the government’s efforts to fulfil its promise of delivering 300,000 homes by the mid-2020s.
The Rosewell Review – read the full report.