• The proposed planning system reform is intended to speed up and modernise the current planning system and get the country building.

    The detail is set out in the Government’s white paper, Planning for the Future, which was published today (6 August 2020).

    There have been many attempts to achieve this objective over the years. However, these have generally built upon the existing system, devised in 1947. In his forward to the white paper the Prime Minister describes the current proposals as: “Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War.”

    Consultation on the white paper closes on 29 October 2020. This article summarises the main proposed changes that you need to be aware of.

    Planning system reform – the headline change

    The headline change proposed is the separation of land into three categories:

    • Land suitable for growth – which will be approved for development when plans are prepared.
    • Renewal areas – which will enable quicker development where it is well designed in a way which reflects community preferences.
    • Protected areas – for example Green Belt land, where development will continue to be restricted.

    Other proposed reforms

    Amongst the other reforms proposed is a change to the way in which infrastructure is delivered, with the replacement of the Community Infrastructure Levy and s.106 agreements with a nationally-set value-based flat charge.

    There will also be a focus upon design and sustainability, the greater use of digital technology in the decision making and consultation process, and an increase in the availability of land for development.

    The Government is also keen to ensure that a greater proportion of new housing is built by SMEs, rather than the volume housebuilders.

    The challenge for the Government is to devise a system which delivers the huge increase new housing needed to meet demand, whilst also providing the infrastructure required to support that growth and which also respects the views of local communities.

    If you require any legal advice on planning-related issues, please get in touch.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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    Take a look at our Planning page for useful information, resources, guidance, details of our team and how we may be able to help you

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