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Reform of the Planning System

Reform of the Planning System
August 5, 2020 Hugo Fairey

The Government plans to significantly increase the rate of construction in the UK to “build build build”.  Announcements are being made this week with a ‘once in a generation’ reform of the planning system.

Automatic “permission in principle” in swathes of England could be given for building new homes, hospitals, and schools in the biggest shake-up since the Second World War.

The Government will ask councils through democratic local agreement to split up the land into three designations:

Growth

Land designated for growth will empower development – new homes, hospitals, schools, shops, and offices will be allowed automatically. Developers would be given “permission in principle” for schemes in “growth” areas, with full consent provided once the council has confirmed that the design is in line with local development plans which stipulate the type of buildings that can be constructed on that land.

Renewal

Renewal areas will enable much quicker development with a ‘permission in principle’ approach to balance speed while ensuring appropriate checks are carried out.

Areas marked for “renewal” would primarily encompass brownfield and urban sites. Ministers will consult on how a similar “permission in principle” could work in practice in these areas. One option is to require proposed buildings to be based on designs in official “pattern books”.

Protection

Protection areas will include Green Belt land and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 A Model Design Code

The new planning system will incorporate a “model design code” based on recommendations from the Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, stipulating minimum standards on the quality of design.

A digital overhaul of the system will be designed to encourage locals to easily have a say in the creation of local design codes, which would set out the types of buildings that are acceptable in each area. All proposals would also be checked against the design codes, which would be incorporated into the local plans.

At present, it takes an average of five years for a standard housing development to pass through the planning system. The Government believes it can reduce the process by up to two years.

The Government insists it is “cutting red tape, but not standards”, saying that the new model “places a higher regard on quality and design than ever before.”

Sources:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/01/radical-necessary-reforms-planning-system-will-get-britain-building/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/08/01/automatic-green-light-building-new-homes-hospitals-schools-biggest/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53669432?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science_and_environment&link_location=live-reporting-story

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/planning-law-overhaul-aims-to-fast-track-housing-projects/5105289.article