The findings of the independent review, which were published today, say the average time it takes to decide an appeal could be reduced from around 47 to 26 weeks.
That would give communities clarity sooner about development in their areas, while also maintaining the appeals system’s scope to prevent inappropriate development.
A reduction in time taken to reach planning decisions could help the government achieve its ambition of providing 300,000 new homes each year by 2025.
It would potentially accelerate the process of building and selling property.
‘Outdated’ system causes delays
The review, which was chaired by Bridget Rosewell, blames outdated administrative processes and poor IT infrastructure for unnecessarily delaying decisions.
It made 22 recommendations, including proposals for introducing an online portal where planning appeals can be lodged.
A lack of suitably qualified inspectors was hampering efforts to set up inquiry hearings speedily, according to the report, which sets out a strategy for recruiting additional inspectors so inquiries can be scheduled sooner.
The communities secretary James Brokenshire welcomed the reported and cited planning appeal enquiries as a prime factor in slowing down development and keeping communities in limbo.
He said: “Reducing the time it takes to secure crucial decisions ensures the delivery of more homes, in the right places.”
Roswell added: “My review found, with commitment for all involved, that speeding up inquiries can be achieved through straightforward reforms, shaving months off the current time it takes for inspectors to make a decision.”