Greg Clark has proposed an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill which, if granted, may allow developers to choose who processes their planning applications.
Historically, the processing and determining of Planning Applications has been the sole remit of the Local Planning Authority.
This amendment could break that monopoly, leaving the decision with the LPA but allowing all of the work leading up to the committee to be handled by a third party.
If granted, this could be the single most radical planning reform for many years and it is difficult to imagine quite how the new system would work in practice.
Trying to come up with a form of outsourcing or joint venture agreement to exploit this amendment could be a very profitable thought experiment for a budding planning entrepreneur. Perhaps a business plan worthy of the next season of The Apprentice?
The latest publication of proposed amendments to the bill show that communities secretary Greg Clark is proposing a new clause to allow the "processing of planning applications by alternative providers". "The secretary of state may by regulations make provision for a planning application that falls to be determined by a specified local planning authority in England to be processed, if the applicant so chooses, not by that authority but by a designated person," the amendment says. An explanatory statement says that the measure "would give the secretary of state the power, by regulations, to introduce pilot schemes for competition in the processing (but not the determining) of applications for planning permission."