Proposed changes to Britain's complex planning laws could make it harder for pub operatorsto find new premises, claims one property expert. Nigel Ball, partner at property consultant Fuller Peiser, says the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Bill published last week is unlikely to simplify the system for the industry. He says the lead time between finding high street sites for conversion and gaining planning permission will not shorten and plans to abolish the useful twin-tracking planning applicationsystem are unwelcome. The practice of twin-tracking allows pub operators to submit multiple applications for a site forcing planning authorities to continue negotiating while one application is at the appeal stage. Ball has also criticised the decision to replace the Unitary Development Plans (UDP) with Local Development Frameworks, claiming the change was not needed as property developers had got used to working with local authority UDPs. "Although there are no specific issues which affect the pub trade, there are a number of concerns we have and a lot of questions still to be answered. The result could be that it costs operators more to get planning applications through so the industry should continue lobbying on this Bill," advised Ball. He added that among the positive suggestions made by the Government was the decision not to allow third-party right of appeal which would have enabled local residents to fight the opening of new licensed premises and delay the planning process further.