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  6. Ministers mull appeals reform

Ministers mull appeals reform

Planning minister Bob Neill has told Parliament the Government is reviewing the grounds for appeal and said the Coalition wants to see fewer planning cases appealed. His comments came during a Commons debate in Westminster Hall on the Government’s planning reforms

“We must have a planning system, and our desire is to avoid the system we have at the moment, whereby planning by appeal takes place almost automatically because local authorities are almost forced to refuse applications because they are grounded on the basis of the regional spatial strategies, which do not have regard to local needs. I want to get away from that,” he told MPs.

He went on: “Under both the current system and the new system proposed in the Localism Bill, in which we want to place more weight on the view of the local authority, we are looking at the basis on which an appeal could override the view expressed in the local plan, and to what extent that would be the appropriate course.”.

The minister promised: “We will address those points about how to get the balance right, not just in the Bill but in parallel with the important reforms and the creation of a national planning priorities framework.”  

He added: “There are complications to any significant reform of the appeals system. Our instinct is, first, to put the Localism Bill into practice, secondly, to get the national planning framework up and running, and then to look at the appropriate means of proceeding thereafter.”

Read the Commons Hansard report (12 Jan 2011, column 127WH)


Roger Milne

13 January 2011