Clark proposes planning application processing by 'alternative providers'

Planning applications could be processed by 'alternative providers' rather than local planning authorities, under a government amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill.

Parliament: Housing and Planning to bill to reach report stage on January 5
Parliament: Housing and Planning to bill to reach report stage on January 5

The latest publication of proposed amendments to the bill show that communities secretary Greg Clark is proposing a new clause to allow the "processing of planning applications by alternative providers".

"The secretary of state may by regulations make provision for a planning application that falls to be determined by a specified local planning authority in England to be processed, if the applicant so chooses, not by that authority but by a designated person," the amendment says.

The new clause adds that regulations "must provide that the option to have a planning application processed by a designated person (a) does not affect a local planning authority’s responsibility for determining planning applications, and (b) applies only until a specified date".

An explanatory statement says that the measure "would give the secretary of state the power, by regulations, to introduce pilot schemes for competition in the processing (but not the determining) of applications for planning permission."

Elsewhere, an amendment tabled by shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, John Healey and Teresa Pearce aims to "change the purpose of the bill to one that would enable the supply of more housing across all tenures rather than just starter homes".

Another related amendment aims to "ensure that additional housing is supported with adequate infrastructure".

A separate amendment tabled by Blackman-Woods, Healey, Pearce and London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan, aims to "ensure that a proportion of starter homes are available to local people."

The bill is due to have its report stage in the House of Commons on January 5. This stage in the legislative process gives MPs an opportunity, on the floor of the House, to consider further amendments to a bill which has been examined in committee.


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