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Off the back of yesterday’s Spring budget, it was a busy day for the Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing (DLUHC) with a number of announcements being made, including the publication of a consultation on a new Accelerated Planning System, which runs until 1st May 2024.


The main points of note can be summarised as follows:


  1. Introduction of a new ‘Accelerated Planning Service’ for major commercial applications


This would apply to development of 1,000 sqm or more of new or additional employment floorspace, not including EIA development.


Applicants will be able to pay a higher planning fee to the local planning authority which, who in exchange, will be required to determine the application within 10 weeks (rather than the 13-week statutory time limit), otherwise the fee will be refunded.


  1. Imposing restrictions to the use of Extensions of Time Agreements


DLUHC propose to introduce a new performance measure for speed of decision-making for the proportion of applications that are determined within the statutory time limit only.


This includes removing the ability to use extension of time agreements on householder applications and only allowing one extension of time for other developments.


  1. Simplifying the process for written representations appeals


This would reflect a similar process as the Householder Appeals Service (HAS) and Commercial Appeals Service (CAS) and include the following written representation appeals:


  • Planning permission or reserved matters.
  • Listed building consent.
  • Works to protected trees.
  • Lawful development certificates.
  • Approval of details reserved by a condition.
  • Imposition of conditions on approvals.
  • Modifications or discharge of planning legal agreements.
  • Refusal of consent under the Hedgerow Regulations.
  • Anti-social high hedges.


This would only apply where an application has been determined. Appeals against non-determination would follow the current process.


The appeal would be based on the original planning application documentation and an appeal statement. There would be no opportunity for the appellant to submit additional evidence.


  1. Implementation of new section 73B route and the treatment of overlapping permissions


This would allow an Applicant to make an application to a local authority for a new planning permission for development which is not substantially different to that granted by an existing planning permission.


The Section 73B route would replace the use of Section 73 – for example, if an Applicant wishes to make alterations to the total number of flats, or the size of a building, then they would use the Section 73B route. If they only want to vary a specific condition, then Section 73 would be used.

Other key publications yesterday include (but are by no means limited to!):

  • The Government’s response to the consultation on procedures for the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) consenting process, which took place last September.
  • Round 2 of the Local Nutrient Mitigation Fund opened, with expressions of interest available until 26th April 2024.
  • The Planning Performance Dashboard: Information on local authority planning performance for the year ending September 2023.

The Spring Budget also stated that to boost capacity in the planning system, the government is committing £3 million to match industry-led funding for a skills and education programme to attract more people to take up roles in local planning authorities.

DHA will continue to monitor this and provide further updates. If you have any queries regarding these changes, then please get in touch with us directly. 

Get in touch


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