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Three councils likely to face 'special measures', figures reveal

The three district councils of Halton, Worthing and Blaby could be placed in 'special measures', which will allow developers to submit major planning applications to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), according to statistics published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).30 Sep 2013

The figures show that all three councils determined fewer than 30% of major planning applications within 13 weeks in the two-year period from July 2011 to July 2013. 

This triggers the Government's 'special measures' designation policy, which 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. 

The figures also reveal that 26 councils face designation as a result of determining less than 30% of major county matter applications involving minerals and waste developments within the statutory period.

 These include Lancashire, Buckinghamshire, Northumberland, Devon, Dorset, Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bexley, Bury, Calderdale, Cheshire East, Doncaster, Hartlepool, Kingston upon Hull, City of Kirklees, Wigan and Yorkshire Dales National Park. 

The DCLG said that the figures should not be taken to imply that any particular authorities will be designated. This will be confirmed only when designation notices have been issued, it said.