Residents of St Helens considering a major home improvement project such as adding a glazed extension, conservatory or glazed canopy to their property will find themselves in the enviable position of dealing with the council heralded as the model of good practice for planning permission.
According to the St Helens Reporter, the local council is the first in the country to introduce an online fast-track application scheme for planning permission – a scheme that should make building a conservatory or extension easier than ever.
The council website tells residents whether or not they will need planning permission for their extension and allows them to check whether their planned conservatory or extension meets criteria of what is likely to be accepted.
A review commissioned by the Communities and Local Government and Business department and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform department, pointed to the scheme as setting an example for councils across the country.
"The experience of St Helens Council in piloting this proposal has been positive," it said.
"It has resulted in an increase in applications made online and an improved quality of applications, leading to faster decision times averaging five weeks and one day for schemes submitted by accredited agents."