Planning Reform


Helen Heward, Associate at Planning House was interviewed by BBC Radio Tees about the planning reforms published by the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government in the Planning for the Future white paper.  Her interview can be heard on the link above.

Planning for the Future sets out plans to undertake a reform of the planning system and explains that this would be accompanied by shorter-term measures.  Whilst the white paper contains changes to the planning system it is lacking in detail of how these will be achieve.  The devil will be in the detail as they say.

The reforms aims are:

  • Local communities will be consulted from the very beginning of the planning process. By harnessing the latest technology through online maps and data, the whole system will be made more accessible
  • Valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land and all new streets to be tree lined
  • Much-needed homes will be built quicker by ensuring local housing plans are developed and agreed in 30 months – down from the current 7 years
  • Every area to have a local plan in place – currently only 50% of local areas has a plan to build more homes
  • The planning process to be overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned at appeal
  • A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay
  • The creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and establishing local design guidance for developers to build and preserve beautiful communities
  • An ambition that new ‘zero carbon ready’ homes delivered under our new system will not require any future retrofitting

A consultation accompanying the white paper ‘Changes to the current planning system’ is open until 1 October on measures to improve the effectiveness of the current planning system. The 4 main proposals are:

1) changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need;
2) securing of First Homes through developer contributions in the short term until the transition to a new system;
3) supporting small and medium-sized builders by temporarily lifting the small sites threshold below which developers do not need to contribute to affordable housing;
4) extending the current Permission in Principle to major development.