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Consultation opens on measures to improve planning process

Publication date:

A public consultation has begun on measures intended to improve the planning application process in St Albans District.

Community groups, planning agents, property developers and residents are all encouraged to give their views on the proposals.

Applicants need to provide certain information when making a planning application so that the proposed development can be accurately assessed.

St Albans City and District Council sets out the information it requires in its Local Validation Lists.

Now the Council is reviewing these Lists and is considering a number of significant changes.

These include the requirement of a Climate Change Statement to be submitted for any major developments.

Applicants in the Sandridge and St Stephen parishes would have to take into account newly-published neighbourhood plans.

The new Lists would also contain references to the most recent fire safety legislation.

People responding to the consultation are asked a series of questions about the Lists and can suggest changes of their own.

The consultation started on Monday 1 August and runs for eight weeks until Monday 26 September. It is available here:

All feedback will be considered before the proposals are finalised with the new Lists due to become operational in November.

Councillor Chris White, Leader and Lead Councillor with responsibility for Planning, said:

This is a timely review of the Validation Lists as new fire safety regulations are coming into force while the importance of tackling climate change has never been more pressing.

The proposed changes encompass all of that and are designed to ensure that applicants know what supporting information they must provide along with a planning application.

This should quicken the entire process and bring down costs as well with Council staff spending less time chasing up information.

I’d urge anyone in the District with an interest in the planning application process to take part in the consultation. We want to hear from as many people as possible.

In another initiative, Full Council has agreed to a proposal to streamline the number of Planning Committees that deal with development applications.

These have been reduced from four Committees covering specific geographic areas to one Committee for the whole District.

Councillors and Town and Parish Councils will be more involved in pre-application discussions to ensure community views are aired at the earliest opportunity.

The changes to the Committee structure came into force on Monday 1 August and will be reviewed after six months.

Cllr White added: “This is a very sensible move that brings us into line with other local authorities of a comparable size and makes our planning process more efficient.

“Applicants will be better able to gauge the view of the community to their proposals and make any necessary changes before they finalise their applications.”

Picture: Cllr Chris White.

Councillor contact: Councillor Chris White, Leader and Chair of the Policy Committee:; 01727 845300.

Contact for the media:  John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727 819533;