The Queen’s Speech - Planning Reforms

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The Queen’s Speech - Planning Reforms

Published 11 mayo 2021

The Planning White Paper heralded the greatest shake-up of the planning system in 70 years, so given the year that was 2020 it’s no surprise to those in the industry that today’s stoic Queen’s speech didn’t confirm more than a simple but important commitment – that the Government will bring forward new laws to modernise the planning system so that more homes can be built.

What is required to deliver that commitment entails significantly more engagement, consultation and impact assessment than has been possible over the last year and we agree with many commentators that legislative reform is likely to be phased and that a Planning Reform Bill is unlikely take shape until Autumn 2021 – with the Environment Bill and legislation on  leasehold reform and building safety (under the supervision of a new regulator) taking precedence. The scope of the Planning Reform Bill may also well mean that it must be split over two parliamentary sessions, and the first tranche is unlikely to be passed earlier than Summer of 2022.

But so often have planning interventions resulted in unintended consequences that radical reform is not something to be rushed through the legislature – particularly where it is intertwined with concepts of economic viability in the context of a national recovery from the pandemic.

However, we believe that the Government must deliver on its vision for ‘Zonal Planning’ (i.e. Growth/Renewal/Protection) early in the process, and combine with that the proposals to expedite the preparation of Local Plans together with home-ownership initiatives such as First Homes – the new 30% discounted form of affordable housing. These steps would represent meaningful structural change and create visibility upon which investment can start to rely.

Whilst there is still some debate amongst Ministers around the classification of zones and whether ‘Renewal’ is a necessary distinction from ‘Growth’, there is no doubt that these reforms are within easier reach than the job of replacing the widely criticised Community Infrastructure Levy. We believe that the successor to CIL is most likely to follow in the second instalment of the Planning Reform Bill, as that transition represents a monumental exorcism from the current body of planning policy and legislation and should only be attempted following extensive engagement with the development industry.

We continue to applaud the Government’s ambition and look forward to the detail. If you would like to discuss how these issues may affect your business please contact:


Andrew Morgan

Andrew Morgan

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6193

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