Planning for the Future - White Paper


In our July 2020 newsletter, we mentioned the Government’s intentions to modernise the planning system. Before the ink was barely dry on that newsletter, so the Government kept its promise and the following month published its White Paper - Planning for theFuture.

The consultation ran until the 29 October and we await the outcome of that. But why were the reforms proposed and what were its headline proposals?

Our Prime minister didn’t pull his punches and set out his own position and feelings towards the planning system saying:

Thanks to our planning system, we have nowhere near enough homes in the right places. People cannot afford to move to where their talents can be matched with opportunity.Businesses cannot afford to grow and create jobs. The whole thing is beginning to crumble and the time has come to do what too many have for too long lacked the courage to do – tear it down and start again.

That is what this paper proposes.

Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War.

Not more fiddling around the edges, not simply painting over the damp patches, but levelling the foundations and building, from the ground up, a whole new planning system for England’.

Quite a task then, and the White Paper has approached it with 5 headline proposals:

Proposal 1 - That local plans should be simplified and identify three types of land: Growth areas suitable for substantial development, Renewal areas suitable for development, and areas that are Protected.

Development Management policies would be established at national scale rather than repeated in Local Plans.

Tests of soundness for Local Plans would be replaced by a new single ‘SustainableDevelopment’ test;

Proposal 2 – That the planning process is administered using a digital data rather than a document-based approach to make it more accessible and improve transparency, decision-making and productivity;

Proposal 3 – To focus more on design, sustainability and place making to achieve a ‘net gain’ not just ‘no net harm’ from development;

Proposal 4 – To improve infrastructure delivery with a reform of developer contributions, Planning Obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy; and

Proposal 5 – To bring forward more residential land in areas of most need and help support the renewal of town and city centres, using a new nationally determined, binding housing requirement that local planning authorities would have to deliver through their Local Plans.

The consultation closed on 1 October 2020 and we await the next steps...

Call our planning team for a chat about how the new proposals may impact both residential and commercial developments.

You can download the White Paper Consultation Document, here.

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