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Small site planning delays ‘stall the engine’ of UK development, says agent

Land agent Aston Mead says that planning delays of over a year are forcing individual building projects to be abandoned, and slowing UK development overall.

Director Adam Hesse says that decisions over even the most modest-sized sites are taking an unacceptably long time to bring to conclusion, forcing some small and medium sized developers out of business. He explained: “Small, brownfield sites in our towns and villages are often unearthed by SME developers. But quick turnover even for these more modest locations is prevented by a planning process which is clunky, time consuming and not fit for purpose.

“The trouble is local planning authorities encourage a pre-application meeting on all sites before planning is submitted. But meetings often can’t be arranged for two months or more - and even when they do see the applicants, they seem unwilling to give any meaningful direction or advice.

“It’s often the case that this means people are submitting an application without knowing if the planning department will approve of what is being proposed. Then it takes six to eight weeks to register, and another eight weeks to be heard. So just on the main application, six months can potentially go by without getting any decision whatsoever. And if it goes to appeal, staff shortages mean that there’s a minimum of an additional six months before the case can be heard.”

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