On Thursday (3rd December) the government announced that public service buildings will be delivered more quickly through the planning system with a faster, more streamlined planning process.
Currently, these buildings can have small extensions without the need for a full planning application. The new proposals would help to deliver more classrooms and hospital space by speeding up the process.
These planning reforms follow this summer’s announcement that full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes, which Advantage wrote about in June.
Streamlining the planning process
Where a full planning application remains required, such as to build entirely new schools and hospitals, the process will be streamlined to speed up local decision making so that work can continue at pace to deliver public services for the community.
Councils will need to make decisions on these important buildings as a priority and have a legal duty to decide major public service development applications within 10 weeks. Currently, some planning applications are left for many months without a decision.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said:
“The new fast track for public services makes it simpler and quicker to deliver the schools and hospitals we promised to build in our manifesto. We expect these vital buildings to be approved in weeks, not months and are reforming the planning system so it works for the NHS, our schools and other vital public services.
“Like the rest of the planning reforms, these changes will also help to protect and create thousands of jobs in the construction industry.
RIBA calls for a reformed planning system that works for everyone
RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:
“We’ve been long calling for a more flexible, streamlined planning system – these proposals could therefore have potential. But we have also been clear that any simplifications to ‘fast track’ projects cannot be made at the expense of quality, safety or sustainability.
“Poor quality schools, hospitals and homes underprovide to communities, can be more costly to the taxpayer over the long-term and waste the huge benefits that well considered design brings to society. We will be responding to the consultation on supporting housing delivery and look forward to working with the government ensure we end up with a reformed planning system that works for everyone.”
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