Only one district council placed in special measures

A Leicestershire council is the first planning authority to be officially placed in 'special measures' by the government, allowing developers to bypass its planning department.

Planning minister Nick Boles
Planning minister Nick Boles

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced the designation of Blaby District Council this afternoon.

This follows the council's determination of less than 30 per cent of applications within 13 weeks between July 2011 and June 2013.

The designation means that developers of major projects in the area will be able to submit planning applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate.

Blaby Council was one of three district councils on a draft list of planning authorities that were at risk of being put in special measures, along with Halton and Worthing district councils.

Planning minister Nick Boles said: "The imminent threat of designation appears to have focused the minds of councils and we’re pleased a number of authorities raised their game, improved performance and for the time being are out of risk."

But he added that the thresholds used to assess planning authorities’ performance would be kept under review.

Twenty-six county matter authorities, who determine planning applications for waste and mineral applications, were placed under threat of the designation in September. The government had pledged  to make an announcement on which of these will be placed in special measures by the end of October.

But a DCLG spokesman today said that the first designations of county matter authorities would be put back by six months "to provide time for us to work with county authorities as a whole on the quality of data supplied".

He added that a "significant proportion" of the county matters authorities had asked for corrections to be made to the data that they had submitted.

CORRECTION: This story was amended at 15:25 on Monday 11 November to include information that DCLG provided after the time of writing but prior to publication.

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