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UK Government’s £24m fund to support Local Planning Authorities

The UK Government has acknowledged that Local Planning Authorities face challenges with resource and skills gaps, and subsequently backlogs of planning applications. The government has addressed this issue by introducing the Planning Skills Delivery Fund, which will offer support now, and help Local Authorities plan for future planning reform.

TerraQuest can support your funding application free of charge. Our application services, PACES and PAVS, can help your Local Planning Authority with clearing the application backlog which can be financed by the Planning Skills Delivery Fund. Read on to find out more.

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Read on to find out more about the fund, how to apply, the criteria and how TerraQuest is already helping more than 70 Local Planning Authorities.

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About the Planning Skills Delivery Fund

The Planning Skills Delivery Fund is an initiative that will allocate £24 million over the next two years to Local Authorities. The fund endeavours to aid in clearing the backlog of planning applications and prepare for the implementation of the proposed planning reform through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

This initiative is part of their comprehensive capability and capacity programme to improve planning services. For year one funding, Local Planning Authorities have the opportunity to apply for up to £100,000 to hire more planning officers and specialised resources to assist in and support the processing of their applications. The deadline for applying is 11 September 2023.

Those Local Authorities that successfully secure funding will be expected to present regular updates on the progress of the work undertaken to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to help them monitor improvement and the impact the funding has had on their backlog.

The eligibility criteria for funding

The government is inviting local authorities to submit proposals to address one or both of two key areas: backlog funding and skills funding. Local Authorities can apply for one or both services.

Eligibility criteria for each funding element:

  • Backlog funding - this is only available to Local Planning Authorities in England who are decision-makers on planning applications. It is the responsibility of each authority to demonstrate the nature and scale of its planning applications backlog. You can use this fund to finance our PACES or PAVS expertise depending on your Local Authority's requirements.

  • Skills funding - this is available for all Local Authorities in England involved in plan-making and decision-making, which includes upper-tier authorities such as county councils. We have partnered with several Local Authorities to tailor validation training. This is something we can discuss with you and provide support with your funding application.

Note: you can apply on behalf of a group of two or more Local Authorities.

How to apply for the Planning Skills Delivery Fund

You can submit your application using this form. Before you apply, ensure you have the following information:

  • Evidence of need
  • Outputs of the proposal
  • Outcomes of the proposal
  • Costs and value for money
  • Deliverability

The form will prompt authorities to enter details such as the number of undetermined applications, outstanding decisions and application types. Authorities will also be asked to provide details of dates and the causes of the backlog, and why the backlog cannot be cleared with available resources. There follows a prompt in case your authority wishes to also apply for skills funding.

What is the deadline to apply for funding?

Key dates:

  • 24 July 2023: funding application process launches.
  • 11 September 2023: application process closes.
  • September 2023: applications assessed by DLUHC.
  • October 2023: announcement of successful Local Authorities.

Visit the government website for more information.

Advice for securing funding

In any proposal for funding to clear an application backlog, the government is looking for Local Authorities to outline:

  • The causes of the backlog and identify ways in which the backlog can be cleared
  • The nature and scale of the planning applications backlog, including the number of live (undetermined) applications
  • Whether Local Authorities have a build-up of unvalidated applications.
  • Demonstrate how this funding would clear the backlog by addressing the root causes and ensuring the backlog does not return.

What should be included in the proposal?

Local Authorities will also be asked to offer historic comparison data, so access to previous years application figures will be required. For accuracy, authorities may find it helpful to refer to published planning applications data when noting the number of undetermined applications.

Authorities will be asked to provide a cause for the backlog from a list of choices, why the backlog cannot be cleared and what the impact is on current proposals.

TerraQuest can support your proposal and discuss your requirements for using our PAVS or PACES team expertise. Spaces for these services are limited, so be sure to act quickly to make sure you don’t miss the deadline.

Contact our team to discuss this further, email information@terraquest.co.uk.

How can TerraQuest help?

Our range of planning services is designed to assist Local Planning Authorities in a comprehensive approach. Whether it's validating planning applications, processing various application types, or clearing application backlogs, we're here to help. Our goal is to improve productivity, save time, and reduce the strain on Local Authority planning teams.

Using TerraQuest's application services means that our experienced and professional Planning Officers and Planning Technicians can reduce application backlog. Better still, funding is available for our services from the Planning Skills Delivery Fund.

Spaces for our application services are limited, be sure to get in touch quickly and we can discuss your local authority’s requirements and support you with your application.

Contact us using our form on the link below, or email information@terraquest.co.uk

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