Overhaul of planning system to ‘build, build, build’ out of crisis

More homes on the high street with planning restrictions reduced

The government announced an overhaul of the planning system, in an effort to build homes more quickly and encourage building on brownfield sites.

Under new legislation that may be introduced as soon as September, permitted development rights will enable homes to be built above existing buildings. Vacant shops and both residential and commercial buildings will be demolished, with new homes built in their place – without the need for planning permission.

The change will bring people back into town and city centres, while reducing the number of boarded up buildings from which most areas suffer.

The prime minister said: “It is this infrastructure revolution that will allow us to end that other chronic failure of the British state, decade after decade, in which we have failed to build enough homes. Why are we so slow at building homes by comparison with other European countries? Because time is money, and the ‘newt counting’ delays in our system are a massive drag on the productivity and the prosperity of this country; and so we will build better and green, but we will also build faster.”

The Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick, said in March that local council planning departments will be provide with further incentives to support the development of more homes. However, a deadline of December 2023 has now been set for all councils to put in place an up to date local plan. A new publication ‘Planning for the Future‘ warns that the government would intervene if council’s failed to meet this target.

More details will be released later in the year, but Mr Jenrick has said: “I want everyone, no matter where they live, to have access to affordable, safe, quality housing and live in communities with a real sense of place as part of our mission to level up, unite and unleash the potential of this country. We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first stop, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people on to the ladder.”

Among other changes to take place in the overhaul to the current planning system, there will also be a new planning fee structure that will provide better resources to planning authorities and incentivise them through additional funding linked to improved performance. In addition, an automatic rebate of fees will kick in when planning applications are successful on appeal.

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