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The planning white paper - August 2020

The highly anticipated but delayed Planning White Paper was finally unveiled by the government on 6 August and with it potentially ushers in a brave new world for the planning system.

The “Change to the Current Planning System - Consultation on Changes to Planning Policy and Regulations”  White Paper, issued by the MHCLG, contains a raft of measures designed to cut red tape and make the planning process faster, simpler, and more focussed. In addition, enhanced community engagement and increased use of “PropTech” solutions feature as part of these proposed changes.

The consultation period will last for 8 weeks from 6 August 2020 and will close on 1 October 2020.

It has been said that the totality of these changes represents the biggest shake up of the planning system in England since 1947.  It is certainly ambitious with an underlying "build, build, build" agenda to help protect and create jobs and secure future economic success.

The fast-tracking of development proposals in newly designated “Growth” and “Renewal” areas is a main feature of these proposed changes. A move towards automatic grant of outline planning permissions at Local Plan stage has moved a step closer; as has potential increased access to use of permitted development rights linked to standard national/locally approved design codes.

Protection of the environment is also key, with the identification and in some cases reinforcement of measures to protect land from inappropriate development, such as the Green Belt and Conservation Areas.

Where development is permitted however, good design, environmentally friendly, tree lined streets and green spaces are also important cornerstones of this new approach.

Section 106 Agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy are likely to be replaced under the new proposals; to be replaced by the new Infrastructure Levy to be calculated purely on increase in land value.

The Government has also committed to the mandatory requirement for First Homes (a new affordable housing product), on all qualifying sites.

Ultimately, of course any changes must be attractive to developers to pursue, not a burden for local planning authorities to administer and must engage with all stakeholders; not least existing local residents and businesses.

The balance needs to be right here if the Government is to avoid the risks and inevitable delay to delivery of its overarching objectives (through lack of consensus, legal challenge or otherwise), which it is so keen to avoid.

Our Planning & Environment Team has produced a number of briefing notes examining specific aspects of the White Paper and assessing their practical implications. These can be found via the links below. 

Local Plans and Standard Methodology

Kathryn Jump examines how the MHCLG will ensure that Local Plans are in place and adopted and how the proposals will impact on housing land supply calculations and delivery.

Local Plans & Standard Methodology

Contact: [email protected] 

The new Infrastructure Levy

Matthew Stimson & Tim Willis consider if the proposals for a new simpler national levy spells the end of Section 106 Agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy.

Read more

Contact: [email protected] & [email protected]

Beautiful Buildings and local design guidance

Karen Howard looks at the pros and cons of the creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and the potential impacts of local design guidance for developers.

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Consultation and online technology

Emma Cartledge-Taylor examines proposals for enhanced consultation and the role that technology will play in the future of planning.

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Zero carbon

Angus Evers reviews the current proposals for all new homes to be ‘zero carbon ready’, and zero carbon emissions by 2050

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Valued Green Spaces/Green Belt

Anna Cartledge looks at the protections offered to the Green Belt and Valued Green Spaces and the extent to which development will be permitted in those areas.

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Local housing plans

Sam Grange considers how local housing plans will help deliver much needed housing.

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Reforms to planning process

Aaron Hopley examines the proposed reforms to planning process and introduction of a clearer, simpler and faster rules based system

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

Building on brownfield land

David Mathias looks at whether increased building on brownfield land is a realistic and achievable aspiration.

Read more

Contact: [email protected]

First Homes

Tim Willis & David Perry review proposals to introduce this form of discounted market housing as an affordable housing product and considers the implications arising from that.

Read more

Contact: [email protected] & [email protected]

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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