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Blaby District Council placed in 'special measures'

Blaby District Council has become the first local authority to be designated by the Government as underperforming under a policy which will allow developers to submit major planning applications to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).11 Nov 2013

The Government's 'special measures' designation policy was introduced by the Growth and Infrastructure Act in May. Under the policy, local planning authorities which determine 30% or fewer of the major planning applications that come before them within the statutory period or have more than 20% of their decisions overturned at appeal can be designated as underperforming. 

If a local authority is designated as underperforming, developers can choose to submit planning applications for major developments to PINS for determination instead of the council. 

Planning Minister Nick Boles said in a statement that delays in the planning system are "unfair both to local residents and local firms". "Justice delayed is justice denied," he said.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published figures in September showing that, as well as Blaby, the District Councils of Halton and Worthing fell below the thresholds for designation in the two-year period from July 2011 to July 2013.

However, Boles said that the "imminent threat" of designation appeared to have "focused the minds" of councils. "We’re pleased a number of authorities raised their game, improved performance and for the time being are out of risk," he said.

"This means more decisions are being made locally and on time but everyone should benefit from a well performing planning system and so the government will keep under review the thresholds used for assessing councils’ performance. We always want local decision making where possible, but at the same time it’s vital to the economy that proposals are decided on swiftly," Boles said.