Planning changes announced in Queens Speech

Government plans to radically change the planning system were announced in the Queen’s speech. The sweeping changes are intended to help meet the target to build 300,000 new homes a year, and have been described as the biggest shake-up to planning rules for more than 70 years.

The Planning Bill, due to come before parliament in the autumn, is expected to significantly reduce the period for a standard housing development to go through the planning system from the current average of around five years.

It is also expected to include proposals to replace Section 106 agreements with a new Infrastructure Levy and introduce new design codes for ‘growth’, ‘protection’ or ‘renewal’, with land labelled for growth getting automatic outline planning permission. 

Councils will be unable to reject applications which meet local rules and the simplification of the regulations will make it more difficult for existing residents to block new housing schemes.

The planning changes also include a move from a document-based system to a digital and map-based service, allowing locals to be more involved in the development of their area.

The government also aims to change Local Plans so they provide more certainty over the type and design of development permitted. It also wants small and medium-sized construction businesses to build a ‘substantial’ number of new homes. They currently account for only 12 per cent of new builds, compared with 40 per cent in 1990. 

11 May 2021

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