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Radical Overhaul of the Planning System

Posted by James Watchorn on 11th August 2020
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Planning For The Future

The government has released the ‘Planning For The Future’ white paper outlining their proposals to overhaul the planning system. The paper details the ways in which the government proposes to bring the ‘outdated and ineffective planning system’ into the 21st century.

‘Planning for the Future’ represents a proposal to radically overhaul the planning system, with increasingly centralised control over setting housing requirements, development management policies and standardising infrastructure contributions.

Pillar One – Planning for development which proposes major changes to the Local Plan process to save time and cost in delivering sites for development. All areas of land in the Local Plan will be zoned into areas for; growth, renewal and protection. Growth areas are for ‘substantial’ development, renewal areas for smaller scale development, and protection areas to ensure that areas designated in the NPPF continue to be protected from development. The paper also proposes to remove the current tests of soundness, the Duty to Cooperate and the Sustainability Appraisal process, and to replace them with a single ‘sustainable development’ test.

A standard template would be used for Local Plans, which would focus on ‘site and area specific requirements and Design Codes’. Plan making would be speeded up, to take no longer than 30 months from Call for Sites to adoption, and Local Plans are expected to be slimmed down to one third of the average size at present.

Pillar Two – Planning for beautiful and sustainable places which proposes the delivery of beautiful and well-designed homes that are environmentally friendly in line with the Government’s 25 year Environmental Plan. This pillar also includes proposed legislation to ‘change the nature’ of permitted development. The Government will produce a National Model Design Code which will provide more detail to the National Design Guide published in October 2019. There will be a revised Manual for Streets.

Pillar Three – Planning for infrastructure and connected places which proposes to replace the existing ways in which developer contributions are secured with a new reformed and extended ‘Infrastructure Levy’. The Government proposes to replace CIL with a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally at either a single rate or at area specific rates. Local authorities could borrow against Infrastructure Levy revenues so they could forward fund infrastructure. The scope of the new infrastructure levy would be extended to include better capture revenues from changes of use and permitted development.

Written by: K. Grimes/August 2020

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