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Published 6 August 2020
A little later than expected but today sees the publication of what has been heralded by the Prime Minister and Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, as a ‘radical’ ‘first principles’ overhaul of the English planning system – with the ambition of stripping away decades of reform since 1947 that have resulted in ‘complexity, uncertainty and delay’; a system that still relies on 20th Century technology (i.e. paper) and founded on a discretionary decision-making process that makes outcomes arbitrary and unattractive to investment.
If the existing system was drowning then large parts of the paper are devoted to describing the water, but between that and images of nostalgia and design aspiration, there are real signs of ambition and acknowledgement that the current planning system is not delivering development at the scale nor at the pace it should be. Much as many commentators will talk about previous failed attempts at reform, the risk of unintended consequences and the uncertainty linked to creating new learning curves (for the Planning Inspectorate and the Courts) – we believe that a bold, clean slate approach is to be applauded, at a time when the development industry needs to know that it has Government’s full attention and support.
The White Paper is based on the following 5 key objectives for reform:
1. Streamlining the planning process2. Digitizing the planning system - for plan-making and decision-taking3. A focus on design and sustainability4. A revised approach to developer contributions and infrastructure delivery5. Making more land available for housing delivery and supporting town centre regeneration
We draw out some of the most significant ideas about how to achieve those ambitions:
o Growth areas would have outline approval for development and substantial development will be defined.o Renewal areas would cover existing built areas where smaller scale development is appropriate such as infill of residential areas, development in town centres, and development in rural areas that is not annotated as Growth or Protected areas.o Protected – this would include sites and areas which, as a result of their particular environmental and/or cultural characteristics, would justify more stringent development controls to ensure sustainability. Some areas would be defined nationally, others locally on the basis of national policy.
The White Paper consultation will run for 12 weeks. If you would like to discuss how these proposals could impact on your business or how we can assist in preparing your consultation responses then please contact the DACB Planning Team.
London - Walbrook
+44 (0)20 7894 6193
+44 (0)20 7894 6269
Christopher Stanwell, Simon Curran
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