Review moves for call-ins to be cut by half

The number of ministerial call-ins should be cut by 50 per cent under Kate Barker's recommendations to streamline planning.

Although about 70 applications were called in by the secretary of state in 2004-05, more than 1,300 were referred for consideration. Barker proposes to reduce directions to refer cases.

The Local Government Association said that Barker recognises that decisions should be made locally. But the RTPI pointed to the value of call-ins in contentious decisions and urged a rigorous definition of strategic importance before any changes.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment added: "Any revised criteria must look at the significance of sites."

The review also calls for a maximum of six months for processing of appeals by 2008-09 and a planning mediation service to reduce the number of cases.

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