APPLYING for planning permission in Halton is to become easier thanks to a new system unveiled by the Government.
A faster, fairer system, with community interests at heart, is set to be the biggest shake-up in the system for more than half a century and a new emphasis on engaging communities is at the centre of the reforms.
Key to the proposed changes is the introduction of local planning frameworks, including neighbourhood and village plans. Covering communities down to the local level, these will set out how neighbourhoods can be preserved and how they need to change.
People will be allowed to take part in decisions about the future of their communities on an almost street-by-street basis. And local councils and developers will have to reach out to the community before seeking planning permission.
Another major proposal is separating householder and business plans to speed up processing applications.
New Business Zones will allow developers to build in designated areas without requiring specific planning approval, applying only to low impact developments that will not put a strain on local services or create massive new housing demand.
Business Zones will be restricted to specific types of business like hi-tech industry and will have to fit in with community and regional plans.