Britain’s best performing small companies are being hampered by a failure of the planning system to allow them to expand, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
Britain’s best performing small companies are being hampered by a failure of the planning system to allow them to expand, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Despite government promises of a faster and fairer planning system, a survey by the lobbying group reveals seven in ten small businesses have to wait more than the maximum eight weeks allowed by ministers for local authorities to decide on most planning applications.
Less than a third of all applications (30 per cent) are decided within the allocated timeframe.
The FSB says that poor performance of local planning authorities cannot be blamed on the complexity of the applications from small businesses as one third of applications are for a change of use of existing business premises and a quarter for minor improvements and changing signage.
Less than a third of applications (30 per cent) relate to substantial proposed works – such as the building of new premises.
According to the Forum, the findings reveal the planning system is still failing despite repeated promises by successive government ministers of a faster, fairer planning system and is proving a serious burden on small businesses trying to grow despite the ongoing recession.
FSB national chairman John Walker says, 'It is ridiculous that small firms are still being held back by the costly and complex planning system. Most small firms only want to make minor changes to their business that would enable them to expand and diversify, stimulating much needed growth in the economy.
'Small businesses are already over-burdened, especially in these difficult times. Providing a fast-track for small business planning applications would make the process cheaper and easier, and would provide the incentive they need to grow their business.'
See also: Employment tribunal system failing SMEs