Welsh Government introduces "landmark" planning bill
A landmark bill to streamline the planning process in Wales has been introduced by the Welsh Government.
The Planning (Wales) Bill proposes that community consultations on major developments should be made earlier and that planning decisions should be made at the "appropriate level" of government, with ministers deciding on applications for schemes of national significance to Wales.
Projects that extend beyond the boundaries of one local authority will also be tackled through a strategic development plan, prepared by a panel comprising representatives of the council, community, businesses and environmental organisations. A more effective enforcement system will also be introduced.
Natural resources minister Carl Sargeant said: "I’m delighted to introduce this landmark bill, the first of its kind in Wales, which will see the planning process strengthened from top to bottom, resulting in an effective, enabling system which best serves the people of Wales and is fit for the 21st century.
"Amongst the improvements that communities can look forward to are clarity on how and when to engage in the planning and consultation processes improved monitoring of local authorities and a refined appeals process that ensures greater fairness, transparency and speed.
"Planning is at the heart of our communities, from building an extension on a house to building a new local school. The introduction of this bill is the beginning of an exciting period for planning in Wales and I will soon be putting in place additional measures to ensure that the bill’s objectives are met in full."