New rules come into effect on 25 June intended to simplify planning applications.
Currently, design and access statements are required for many applications, including small-scale ones. In future, only major applications – for example, 10 or more dwellings or buildings of 1,000 square metres or over – will need such a statement. In conservation areas and World Heritage Sites, design and access statements will be required for one or more dwellings or buildings of 100 square metres or more.
Also, the statutory requirements for the content of design and access statements are being reduced.
Validation of planning applications is also being changed. No longer will councils be able to ask for documents just because they are on their local lists of application requirements. Information sought must be genuinely necessary.
Where there is a dispute between someone applying for planning permission and the council over validation, the right to make an appeal is being re-instated.
The changes are all well and good. However, since the genie of excessive application detail and zealous validation has been let out the bottle, we shall have to see how difficult it is to actually put it back in. With luck planning applications will now be less complicated.