• Helen Winkler

More changes afoot for the Planning system!


In a recent Commons' statement and accompanying document, ‘Planning for the Future’, the Government is proposing a number of changes to the planning system.

It is hoped that more detailed information will be provided within the White Paper scheduled for publication this Spring – though given the current Covid-19 priorities this timetable may well be subject to change. In the meantime, we thought it might be useful to summarise the main areas of possible change set out by the Government earlier this month:

Permitted Development changes

  • The right to extend existing buildings upwards to create new residential accommodation and increase density of development by summer 2020.

  • Consultation on a right to demolish vacant commercial and industrial buildings plus residential blocks and replace them with housing.

Plan-making system

  • A shortening and simplification of the plan-making process with a December 2023 deadline for all local authorities to have a local plan in place or face government intervention.

  • A review of the standard method for calculating local housing need to encourage more house building, particularly in urban areas.

The Planning Application System

  • A more up-to-date streamlined digital/computerised planning system which will make it easier for communities to understand and be involved in decisions which affect them.

  • The refund of application fees where applicants have successfully appealed against refusal of planning permission.

  • A new performance-related planning fee structure.

  • Exploration of options to encourage planning permissions to be built out more quickly.

Other proposed changes

  • The launching of a national brownfield sites map in April 2020.

  • Introduction of more ‘zoning tools’ to support development to simplify the process of granting planning permission for residential and commercial development.

  • Additional support for local authorities using Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers.

  • Changes to the statutory timescales for CPO decisions and wider reforms with possible options for consultation including; ending the automatic right to public inquiry, early engagement on compensations, reverting more decisions to local authorities.

  • Consultation on the New Homes Bonus where authorities are rewarded for enabling housing growth.

  • A call for evidence on opportunities for building above stations in urban areas.

  • Consideration of greater controls for building in areas at flood risk.

We will, of course, provide updates as new information about the proposed changes becomes available.


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