Samantha Curtis, MD of Curtis PDC and member of the DC Planning Group

Earlier this year the Developing Consensus Planning Group met to discuss the planning system within the North East.

Involving a network of house-builders, planners, surveyors, academics, solicitors and architects, the group met to discuss the process, improvements and best practice examples.

Samantha Curtis, MD of Curtis PDC and member of the DC Planning Group, said: “It was vital for us to come together and discuss as a group the issues faced during the planning process to identify common themes and barriers to delivering development’. 

“One of the first points which came up in our discussion was the efficacy of LPA’s within the North East. It was noted by a number of members that some LPA’s provided feedback and decisions faster than others and that similar applications submitted to different authorities could take anywhere from 13 weeks to over a year.” For developers, this can have a detrimental impact on funding and programme delivery. 

A number of recommendations were also raised with the goal to encourage more speculative development within the region.

Samantha added: “Pre-application feedback was highlighted as a key priority throughout the discussion. The issue of ‘opinion over policy’ and the delay in receiving comments from consultees can lead to inconsistencies in the advice given’. 

Samantha said: “Simplifying the pre-application process was suggested by the group to encourage the delivery of development in the region’. 

The group also discussed examples of best practice across the UK “The group highlighted the approach of other pro-active LPA’s, who have adopted a more informal approach to the pre-application process.”

To move forward the Planning Group will now begin to communicate findings of their discussions and workshops to the heads of the seven LPA’s across the North East.

Samantha concluded: “It’s so important for us to collaborate and have these discussions in order for us to make a real positive change within the planning sector and encourage investment and development within the region’. 

“We are looking forward to beginning talks with the seven LPA’s and will keep DC and its members updated with our progress.”

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