With regard to your article “ODPM losing battle to speed up planning” (10 December, page 10), I refer you to the situation in France.

Their planning system has strict, predefined planning zones (residential, retail, industrial). The planning rules suggest that, as long as your application is submitted with the appropriate zoning category, the local authority has eight weeks to formally approve the plans. If there is no response from the local authority after eight weeks, then by default you just carry on building.

Nigel Simmonds