Sunday, 07 November 2010 16:34

Leaders welcome planning pledge

Written by  Ruralcity Media
The move could boost the rural economy The move could boost the rural economy

RURAL business leaders have welcomed government plans to streamline planning rules.

The move to streamline development consent regimes aims to encourage development and stimulate economic growth.

It was made by the government in response to the Penfold Review, set up to identify whether non-planning consents delay or discourage investment.

Business minister Mark Prisk and planning minister Bob Neill said immediate steps would be taken to free developers from burdensome regulation.

The government would also ensure that those responsible for consents shared best practice.

Mr Prisk said the government would seek to simplify some existing consents where other new non-planning consents are proposed.

This would help to ensure that the overall burden on developers did not increase.

Ministers will also consider how consents might be streamlined and simplified to make the process simpler and reduce the red tape on businesses.

An update on implementation will be issued next spring, said Mr Prisk.

“We must stop putting obstacles in the way of British businesses. They will be the driving force behind our future economic growth.

“Adrian Penfold recognised the complex web of red tape and procedures that were a real hindrance to our construction and development sectors.

“Today we’re announcing real practical steps to cut out this unnecessary extra bureaucracy.”

Mr Prisk said he would work closely with my colleagues across government to streamline the planning and consents system.

This would make sure that Britain was “open for business”.

The decision was welcomed by the Country Land and Business Association.

It has long called for improvements to non-planning consents, arguing that they often disproportionately affected rural development.

The government’s pledge to take action would help stimulate economic growth in the countryside, said CLA president William Worsley.

Some consents usually had genuine public interest justifications, he acknowledged.

But in practice they often delayed or prevented changes which would create much needed jobs or homes in the countryside.

“The CLA has lobbied the government for many years to improve these consent regimes,”said Mr Worsley.

“The review made intelligent recommendations about how to reduce the complex web of red tape and bureaucracy surrounding non-planning consents.

“Now steps can be taken to deliver real improvements for rural businesses by freeing developers from overly burdensome regulation.”

Planning minister Bob Neill said cutting red tape would help businesses thrive.

It would also help ensure the government continued to meet other goals, such as delivering a decent road network or protecting endangered species.

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