The Caterer

England's planning system is hampering growth

11 July 2006
England's planning system is hampering growth

Despite recent improvements, lengthy delays in England's planning system are still hampering growth, especially in the hotel and retail sector, claims an interim report by the Bank of England.

However, 33% of appeals took longer than a year to resolve, and one-third of local authorities failed to settle major applications within 13 weeks.

The report added that annual planning fees of £200m on top of lawyers' and consultants' fees were deterring new competitors, notably in the hotel and retail sectors.

It also pointed out that England suffered some of the highest commercial costs worldwide - London's West End costs were 40% higher than any other city in the world.

A recent report by the Confederation of British Industry found 69% of firms were unhappy with local authorities' planning performance.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive at the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said: "We don't have the financial muscle of the big supermarket groups to push local authorities, who are worried about the legal costs of appeals from the big players."

BHA chief executive Bob Cotton's opinion on England's planning system can be viewed here >>

Read full report here >>

By Angela Frewin

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