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An unexpected finding of our research was that the planning performance targets can create perverse incentives, such as some local authorities refusing an application simply to make a decision within the statutory period. This meant that although the data might show that a local authority meets the targets, in reality time is either spent in pre application discussions or on post determination processes, or both, and this time is not reflected in the planning performance data.

Two further problems identified were elected members rejecting officer recommendations at the last minute and a lack of resources and/or part time staff in planning departments, both of which caused delays. The research also showed that many sources of delay lie beyond the control of the planning system.

However, where local authorities were 'open for business', welcomed development and were focused on providing good customer service, the planning system works well to deliver new homes.