In recognition of the great work it does, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) has been ranked joint first in the country in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Planning Performance Tables for two key metrics – on-time major and non-major decisions.

The first of these is for non-major decisions – every single non-major decision was made on-time. Barking and Dagenham is one of just three councils across the country to have achieved this feat. Furthermore, 96 per cent of these made within eight weeks of the application being submitted – the highest of all boroughs in the country.

Furthermore, the council ranks joint first nationally for major decisions – again, every single major decision was made on-time. Combined, this means that all planning applications that are submitted to Barking and Dagenham Council are determined within the accepted timeframe, meaning developers who submit applications for larger developments, and individuals who submit applications for house extensions or similar can be assured that the council will respond to their application in a timely manner.

Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Economic Development, said: “We always strive to deliver what’s best for the residents of Barking & Dagenham, as well as attracting investment into the area to ensure the benefits of regeneration are long-lasting.

“By continuously pushing for ever higher standards of approach to planning, we have raised the bar for future development and improved the attractiveness of Barking & Dagenham as a place to live and work, which will have a genuinely transformative effect for our residents.”

Cllr Muhammad Saleem, Chair of the LBBD Planning Committee, said: “Right across the council we work hard to make sure that our residents and developers get their planning applications dealt with efficiently and speedily.

“I’m proud of the service Be First, the council’s Planning, Governance and Legal Teams as well as my colleagues on the Planning Committee are providing for the council, our residents, and major developers. This has enabled us to deliver much needed affordable housing and play our part in London’s growth agenda.”

Be First is the urban regeneration arm of the council and was established in 2017 to help it deliver upon its ambitious plans to provide 50,000 high-quality new homes and 20,000 new jobs by 2037.

Barry Coughlan, Interim Head of Development Management at Be First, said: “This achievement, alongside our high success rate with planning appeals, shows that Be First are not only providing a fast and efficient service to Barking and Dagenham Council, but are also ensuring that new development in the borough is of the highest possible quality.

“The fact we are the clear national leaders in decisions on non-major developments within eight weeks sets Barking and Dagenham apart as the highest performing Local Planning Authority in the Country, with Be First setting the standard for how a modern development management service can operate.”

Caroline Harper, Chief Planning Director at Be First, said: “It is not only the speed and efficiency with which the team has dealt with applications that sets us apart from other local authority planning teams, but also the positive and proactive approach we take to the development management process.

“From a fast yet rigorous pre-application phase to consistently meeting Planning Performance Agreement milestones at application stage and a streamlined post-permission approvals process, the team has facilitated an accelerated rate of growth in the borough that will make a significant improvement to the lives of its residents.”

The efficiency and professionalism with which the LBBD and Be First teams has handled planning applications has improved the lives of LBBD’s residents and created a sense of momentum which has been integral to the borough’s success as a growth area.