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Call for fast-track planning applications for small firms

The Government is being urged to fast-track small business planning applications to help firms cut through bureaucracy and drive economic growth.

The call came from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) ahead of a consultation by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

According to a new study by the FSB, many enterprises find the current system protracted, overly complicated and far too expensive.

Of the 1,700 firms polled, 53% that had applied for planning permission over the past two years said the rules and process were ‘overly complex,’ while 38% said the process had higher costs than they had anticipated.

With the majority of business owners submitting applications for minor changes, the FSB is campaigning for a fast-track application process to enable small firms to grow and expand.

FSB National Chairman, John Walker, said: ‘It is small businesses that have the potential to drive the economy, but only if their environment is conducive to growth.

‘Providing a fast track for small business planning applications, that make it cheaper and easier, would provide the incentives they need to grow their businesses. The Government is going through huge changes with planning at the moment, so it is vital the small business voice is heard’.