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Planning (Best Value)

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

My right hon. Friend, the Member for Streatham (Keith Hill), when Minister for Planning made a statement to the House on 14 September 2004 about the Government’s approach to achieving the target for 100 per cent. of local planning authorities in England to perform at or above best value (BV109) levels for efficient handling of major, minor and other planning applications.

Since then, authorities have continued to make excellent progress in overhauling their processes and introducing a performance management culture. As a result it is now a realistic prospect that these targets, which are owned both by my Department (as PSA6) and by local government (as LG PSA11), will be achieved by the end of 2006-07 by the large majority if not all authorities.

In order to help embed recent changes in the performance culture in planning Departments, and to sustain delivery against the targets which now carry through to 2008 under the 2004 spending review, I am today announcing my intention to continue designating planning standards authorities for one more year.

It is my intention that authorities performing five percentage points below the targets levels in the year to June 2006 should be considered for designation as planning standards authorities in 2007-08. However, I intend to take into account performance in the year to September 2006 before making the final decision. I intend that the performance standards which designated authorities will be required to meet will be to the national best value target levels, as this year. In summary, the proposed thresholds and standards are as follows:

Percentage of applications determined within time

2007-08

Major applications

Performance threshold in year to June 2006

55

Standard to be met in 2007-08

60

Minor applications

Performance threshold in year to June 2006

60

Standard to be met in 2007-08

65

Other applications

Performance threshold in year to June 2006

75

Standard to be met in 2007-08

80