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Review calls for simplification of planning guidance

Lord Taylor of Goss Moor has carried out an internal review of the UK's planning guidance on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

According to its findings, existing guidelines are unwieldy and inaccessible to the public and even those who operate professionally within the construction industry.

As such, one of the primary recommendations of the review is for the delivery of a new web-based service that will bring all of the UK's planning guidance together in one virtual space.

In addition, streamlining of planning guidance is required in order to ensure those making important decisions on the future planning requirements of towns, cities and rural areas are able to do so from the most informed position.

National Housing Federation assistant director Helen Williams commented in response to Lord Taylor's review: "The scale of the existing guidance, much of which is out of date, is confusing for developers, local authorities and the public.

"Simplifying and putting it online together with examples of best practice will make it easier to find and understand, and will save time."

She added that the recommendations put forth in the review will help to provide a simpler, speedier and more positive planning system in the UK.

A consultation has now been launched by the DCLG to examine the review's recommendations and determine future feasibility and their impact.

Earlier this month, the latest Housing Pipeline report from the Home Builders' Federation (HBF) revealed that the amount of planning permissions taking place across the UK improved during the rolling quarter to the end of October, as well as in comparison to the same period last year.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley stated: "It is just one quarterly increase and we are still well short of the number needed, but we hope it starts a trend that will continue in 2013."

Mr Baseley added that the more than 33,000 planning permissions that were registered in the three months to the end of October are actually only around half of the amount needed to tackle the country's ongoing housing crisis. 

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