To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will revise Planning Policy and Planning Guidance to enable decision-makers to refuse planning applications on grounds where (a) an applicant provides misleading and inaccurate information in a Statement of Community involvement submitted with a planning application and (b) an applicant proposing a major development who deliberately circumvents a local planning authorities' stated expectations of the pre-application consultation process.
29 June 2018
The Government recognises that it is important that local planning authorities, communities and Planning Inspectors can rely on the information contained in planning applications, and applicants or those representing them are asked to confirm that the information provided is, to the best of their knowledge, truthful and accurate. There are no current plans to amend existing planning policy and guidance in this regard.
Local planning authorities are encouraged to provide pre-application advice to applicants. Pre-application engagement by prospective applicants offers significant potential to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system and improve the quality of planning applications and their likelihood of success. It is possible for an applicant to suggest changes to an application before the local planning authority has determined the proposal. It is equally possible after the consultation period for the local planning authority to ask the applicant if it would be possible to revise the application to overcome a possible objection. It is at the discretion of the local planning authority whether to accept such changes, to determine if the changes need to be re-consulted upon, or if the proposed changes are so significant as to materially alter the proposal such that a new application should be submitted.
An application for planning permission is not valid unless it is accompanied by a certificate which applicants must complete that provides certain details about the ownership of the application site and confirms that an appropriate notice has been served on any other owners (and agricultural tenants). It is an offence to complete a false or misleading certificate, either knowingly or recklessly, with a maximum fine of £5,000.
A person who makes a false or misleading statement in connection with a planning application, knowing that it was or might be untrue or misleading, with the intent to make a gain for himself may be prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006.