Housing minister welcomes proposals to review recent changes to requirements

A review of the planning process has called for a government u-turn on recent changes to the system.

The review, commissioned by the communities department, includes proposals to reduce the amount of supporting information required to apply for planning permission and for a re-working of planning targets.

Despite the fact that most of these requirements were introduced by Labour, Margaret Beckett, the housing minister, welcomed the report and promised to conduct a review of documents needed to support planning applications.

The report, carried out by David Pretty, the former Barratt chief executive, and Joanna Killian, chief executive of Essex council, contained 17 recommendations in total, some of which will require primary legislation.

The report calls for some documents to be scrapped for all but the largest applications. This would include design and access statements, in which applicants set out the impact of the project on local transport. This was introduced in 2006.

The requirement for planning authorities to meet time targets for decisions, dating from 2002, has been criticised for causing planners to reject applications rather than miss their deadlines.

It also calls for the full procedure to be waived for 40% of the smallest applications, and for a review of the role of consultees such as the Environment Agency and Cabe.

Pretty said: “The government should look at some things that have recently been introduced. If it means revising things, then that should be done.”

He said he would be “very disappointed” if most of the suggestions were not implemented.

Beckett said the government would look to remove small applications from the planning process, but would have to consider others suggestions further.


  • Full review of planning guidance
  • Targets to focus on quality rather than time taken to decide
  • Reduced need to submit design and access statements
  • Review of role of consultees, to give councils final say
  • Allow small changes without requiring a whole new application