Government throws £15.8m at planning system to speed up decisions

New funding to help speed up planning decisions and help deliver new homes has been announced by Housing Minister Dominic Raab.

The first wave of the Planning Delivery Fund, totalling £15.8 million, has been awarded to enable councils to process more applications, implement new reforms and also train planners to tackle the housing challenges faced by their local area.

This funding boost will support local authorities working together on ambitious new joint local plans and core strategies, which will engage residents on how future development will take place in their areas and outline the locations suitable for new homes where demand is high.

The funding will also support greater best practice and innovation within councils as they decide planning applications, resulting in more being determined over a shorter period of time.

Money awarded to bidders will also allow local authorities to access the latest expertise on design and town planning, driving up the quality of new homes built.

Housing and Planning Minister Dominic Raab said, “This cash boost ensures councils have the resources needed to make quicker decisions on planning applications, delivering quality housing at a faster rate.

“It’s part of our strategy to build the homes this country needs whilst also supporting residents to have their say on the kind of development that takes place in their area.”

This first wave of funding has been split into 3 streams that will assist in delivering new homes across England: The Joint Working Fund (£9.4 million), Design Quality Fund (£4.82 million) and Promoting Innovation Fund (£1.07 million).

A total of 68 projects from Gateshead to Cornwall will receive funding from the Planning Delivery Fund across all three streams, from 2017 until 2019. This will help enable:

  • Bath and North East Somerset council to deliver a new master plan and implement an independent design review, receiving £310,000;
  • London Borough of Hackney to implement new planning applications manager software following an award of £212,000, which will increase the rate of application decisions made;
  • Dudley Metropolitan borough council to bring forward a second Black Country Joint Core Strategy, which will receive £570,000 and support the development needs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton;
  • The Greater Manchester Combined Authority to deliver a new Place Team, create new Mayoral Development Corporations and provide additional resource to deliver investment and will receive £950,000.
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