The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLHUC) are consulting on measures to accelerate planning services in the hope of bringing forward much-needed housing, commercial and infrastructure development at a greater pace and providing greater certainty for applicants.

What options are being consulted on?

The consultation proposes two options that would be available for applicants:

  1. Use the regular planning service, pay the lower fee, and endure the current timescales for decision-making or pay a higher fee and use the new accelerated service.
  2. The accelerated service is the only service available for applications of a certain development category.

Who would these proposed changes apply to?

To begin with, the options would only apply to major commercial developments that comprise 1,000 square metres or more of new or additional employment floor space. Mixed-use developments that meet the employment floor space criteria would also be eligible to use the service.

Other changes proposed in the consultant aimed to help speed up processing times include:

  • Extensions of time are to be limited to one extension per application and not allowed for householder applications.
  • Householder and minor commercial development appeals are proposed to be dealt with under the written representations appeals procedure.
  • Variations to granted schemes and the treatment of overlapping permissions are to be assessed to ensure effective and proportionate post-permission changes.

What expected changes would we see as a result?

Changes to improve the efficiency of the planning system are needed and welcomed by the planning team at Aitchison Raffety. However, concerns have been expressed in the industry that these changes may result in poorer quality decision-making or reduce the ability to negotiate minor changes during the life of an application.

To add your thoughts to the consultation: An accelerated planning system: consultation – GOV.UK (


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