Special measures designation for under-performing planning authorities
Section 62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows certain applications to be made directly to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government where a local planning authority has been 'designated'.
The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 gave the Secretary of State power to 'designate' local planning authorities if their performance in handling major planning applications was below an acceptable standard.
- 30% or fewer of their decisions on major applications were made within the statutory determination period or such extended period agreed in writing with the applicant. The statutory period is 13 weeks, unless an application is subject to Environmental Impact Assessment, in which case it is 16 weeks. A major application is an application for 10 homes or more, or the equivalent commercial floorspace.
- More than 20% of major applications decisions were overturned on appeal.
Local planning authorities under special measures have applications determined by the planning inspectorate and lose a proportion of the application fee. Special measures designation is reviewed annually to allow improving authorities to regain their determination powers.
However, on 28 November 2014, in response to a consultation on the criteria for identifying under-performing planning authorities, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced its intention to raise the threshold for decisions on major applications from 30% to 40%. Ref Planning performance and planning contributions.
Then, on 24 August 2015, following publication of ‘Fixing the foundations’, the government formally revised the threshold again to 50 per cent. Ref Improving planning performance: criteria for designation. The government pointed out that up until that time, only three planning authorities had been subject to special measures and two of those had subsequently had their designation lifted.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
 External references
- DCLG, Improving planning performance Criteria for designation, June 2013.
- DCLG Planning performance and planning contributions 23 March 2014
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