Yet more planning law changes on the way

Hot on the heels of the Business and Planning Act 2020 which passed into law last month the Government’s foretasted intention to overhaul the planning system in England will become a bit clearer this month (Aug 2020) when the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, provide more details of major planning reforms aimed at delivering the “build, build, build” agenda announced by the Prime Minister in early July.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, on the 2nd August the Secretary of State said that, in future, land will be designated in one of three categories – for growth, for renewal and for protection. He promising to “cut red tape, but not standards”, and that new homes and hospitals will be granted “automatic” permission to be built with a “permission in principle” given to developments on land designated “for renewal” in order to speed-up building. “Land designated for growth will empower development – new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be allowed automatically,” he said. In summary:

  1. Under the new rules, land for growth will allow homes, hospitals and GP surgeries to be built “automatically” – if local councils deem it necessary.
  2. In renewal areas, building plans in mostly existing urban areas, will get “permission in principle”, to speed up the process while allowing for appropriate checks for new housing developments, and in order to restore UK high streets.
  3. New development will be banned on protected land such as the green belt and areas of outstanding national beauty.

Apparently the new process will be organised through ‘democratic local agreement’. The new approach will work through an interactive and accessible map-based online system “placing planning at the fingertips”, a government spokesperson said.

Whilst further announcements are expected soon, it is likely that we’re going to have to wait until the autumn for the detail on these radical planning measures. As always in planning, the devil will be in the detail! Predesignating land in England into just three categories will be a mammoth task. Apart from ‘protected landscapes’, one wonders if residents will be happy with their area being designated either ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’, both of which will come within the sights of building developers under these proposals?

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