Both developers and local authorities have identified a lack of resource within planning departments as a key barrier to development.
The majority of developers believe higher planning fees might be part of a potential solution, helping local authorities shorten waiting times and improve performance.
The average submission to determination time for a major planning application is 32 weeks across London, Greater Manchester and Bristol, over double the government target of 13 weeks.
According to the fourth Annual Planning Survey from the British Property Federation and GL Hearn the overall volume of major applications determined in London also fell by 26%, despite the housing crisis.
Both public and private sector respondents to the survey expressed concern with the lack of resources available to local planning authorities.
Over half (55%) of local authorities say under-resourcing is a significant challenge and half (50%) believe the planning system is not operating as well as it was in 2010.
Three quarters of applicants are dissatisfied with the length of time a planning application takes – up from 71% last year. The survey found that nearly two thirds (65%) of applicants would be happy to pay more if it would shorten determination times.
- In London, the average submission to determination time is 34 weeks – 6 weeks longer than last year’s study (28 weeks) but a modest improvement from 2011/12 when it stood at 37 weeks;
- The average submission to determination time is 27 weeks in both Greater Manchester, Bristol and the surrounding area
- The volume of major planning applications determined has fallen by 26% in London, increased by 19% in Manchester
- In line with diminishing land opportunities in the capital, densification is a more prevalent priority for applicants in London (47%) compared to applicants in the North West (14%).
Shaun Andrews, GL Hearn’s head of investor and developer planning, said: “In order to get Britain building again, we need to get Britain planning.
“Development activity is critical for our economy, not least in order to tackle the urgent housing crisis. This year’s Annual Planning Survey shows that the planning system needs investment – and that requires action across the board.
“There is an urgent need to find bold new solutions to this shared challenge. Further streamlining of the system may well be part of the solution but to get Britain planning to enable growth requires investment.
“This is an industry-wide issue that needs us all to collaborate to prevent a poorly functioning planning system stifling economic growth.”