To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effect on transparency and local democracy of the statutory requirement to publicise planning applications in local newspapers and (b) potential effect on local newspaper revenue of discontinuing that requirement.
1 December 2020
Local planning authorities are required to publicise certain types of planning applications in local newspapers as set out in Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.
We are mindful of the potential impact that any changes to the requirements might have on transparency and local democracy, as well as the potential effect on local newspaper revenue. Indeed the independent Cairncross Review into the future of journalism found that statutory notices, including planning notices, provide an important strand of revenue for many local publishers and that their withdrawal would do serious damage to parts of the sector.
Proposals to reform publicity requirements are being considered through the “Planning for the Future” White Paper which aims to make it simpler, quicker and more accessible for local people to engage with the planning system using digital tools. We recognise the importance of local newspapers to communities and the continued need to reach out to people who cannot digitally access information. MHCLG is considering consultation responses and will publish a response in due course, and the impact on transparency and local democracy, as well as on local newspaper revenue will be considered before any decisions are taken.