The Government has announced a consultation process on guidelines to speed up the planning system across England. In a report published at the beginning of August 2020 titled Planning for the Future, the Government provides detailed plans for changing a ‘relic’ of an existing system.
The plans aim to greatly improve the existing system which sees many potential planning applications refused because of previous stipulations.
The plans include re-energising local plans produced by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) so that land falls into one of three categories: growth, renewal or protected.
The proposal outlines that planning permission would automatically be secured for areas categorised for growth. Some development would be permitted in renewal areas but would be restricted completely in protected areas.
Local Authorities will also be put under increasing pressure to ensure that planning approval for some bigger development projects is approved in under 30 months.
Priority for aesthetic developments
The Government also announced that high-quality development proposals would be likely to be granted automatic permission if they reflect local character and preferences.
The changes outlined by the Government mean that more applications will be granted immediately, whilst other more unique applications will be categorised, and approval will be granted based on new guidelines. The proposed guidelines suggest that following the implementation of the measures outlined, planning should be easier to achieve and less of a headache for all involved.
The reforms will mean:
- 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.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:
“Our complex planning system has been a barrier to building the homes people need; it takes seven years to agree local housing plans and 5 years just to get a spade in the ground.”
Decisions on the Green Belt will stay with local authorities as they prepare their plans so that they can continue to protect and enhance these important areas for generations to come.
Following the publication of Planning for the future, the government will now consult with planners, lawyers and local government experts on the proposals, as well as interest groups and residents.
So, potentially lots of changes ahead! Luckily we are on top of all of these proposals as they move from consultation to law, so are well-positioned to advise you on how to get the permission you need. If you need some advice, do get in touch, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message Andrew on our social media platforms.
For more information on planning, please take a look at some of our past blogs.