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Pickles lambasts planning system as "drag anchor" on growth

The planning system is a "drag anchor" on growth that needs radical reform, communities secretary Eric Pickles has argued.

Speaking at the Confederation of British Industry's annual conference in London, the Conservative MP panned the current process for being "largely predicated upon conflict" and setting builders, councils and communities against each other.

He added the system appears to only "function by appeal" and as a result, millions of pounds are wasted because of delays and wrangling over developments.

"Using the planning system shouldn't feel like you're going ten rounds with bureaucracy and we shouldn't need an army of experts to navigate it," Pickles said.

"I am absolutely determined to cut the planning system down to size."

The minister's speech caused consternation among planning professionals, with Royal Town Planning Institute president Richard Summers describing it as an "ill-informed attack".

He also criticised Pickles for scrapping regional spatial strategies, which had "led to the greatest uncertainty in the planning system for a generation" and delayed much-needed investment.

"[Pickles's speech] is not a serious analysis and it fails to offer new solutions to ensure that planning can play an even greater role in boosting economic growth and job creation," Summers said.

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