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Bradford Council hits target for planning decisions
9:00am Friday 16th August 2013 in News
Some councils in the district are much quicker than others in deciding major planning bids, Government figures show.
Two-thirds of applications put in to Bradford City Council are decided within 13 weeks – the target set by ministers. That puts the city in the top 25 per cent of local authorities in England, although far short of the best performer, which is Coventry (96.3 per cent).
Calderdale performs even better, settling almost 72 per cent of major applications within three months, over a 21-month period to last March. But in Kirklees, only 45.2 per cent of such bids were decided within 13 weeks, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The statistics are important because, controversially, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has threatened to strip the worst-performing councils of their planning powers.
That responsibility would be handed to a central planning inspectorate, a move designed to kick-start the economy by getting foot-dragging planners “off our backs”.
However, Kirklees is performing far better than the threshold for ministers to step in – which is just 30 per cent of applications decided within 13 weeks.
Mr Pickles also vowed to act against town halls falling down on quality, detected by a high proportion of planning decisions overturned on appeal.
At some councils, 13 per cent of appeals are successful, but that proportion is tiny at Bradford (one per cent), Calderdale (zero per cent) and Kirklees (two per cent).
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “This table refers to major planning applications only and relates to 135 of the 4,825 planning applications decided over 21 months to the end of March 2013. The performance figure for major applications recognises that more time than the statutory period can be required to negotiate the right outcome on large and complex proposals, including Section 106 agreements.”
But Planning Minister Nick Boles said it was useful to identify the minority of authorities “blighted by delays in processing applications”.
Such delays could “discourage much-needed investment in jobs, homes and community facilities”.
Mr Boles said: “It’s quite right that communities and developers looking to provide homes and jobs are able to see how efficiently applications are processed by their council.”
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