UK Government sets out to reform outdated planning system
August 10 , 2020 – The UK’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has set out to reform the outdated planning system to deliver sustainable homes.
The reforms to the housing policy which were announced after decades could transform a system, which has often been criticised to be too slow in providing housing for families, workers and young people.
The new reforms were published in a white paper titled ‘Planning for the future.’
The reforms could also be a major boost to small and medium enterprise (SME) builders who were excluded from the planning process and are expected to be the key players in getting the UK to building on the scale needed to bring economic recovery.
The current system is claimed to have been unfavourable to small businesses, as the proportion in leading new homebuilding had dropped from 40%, 30 years ago to 12% presently.
Through the new reforms, local communities will be consulted now be part of the planning process and will be consulted from the beginning. Using the latest technology on maps and data, the whole system will now be more accessible.
Green spaces will be protected for future generations, hence more buildings will be made on brownfield land and all the new streets will be lined with trees.
A proposal has been made to build much-needed homes to be built quicker, by ensuring that local housing plans are developed and agreed within 30 months, unlike the seven years in the current system.
From now on, every area will have a local plan in place, replacing the current system where only 50% of local areas have plans to build more homes.
The overhaul has called for the planning process to be reformed and replaced with a rules-based system. Presently, a third of the planning cases that go to appeal are overturned at appeal.
The newer and simpler national levy will replace the present system of developer contributions, which has been a reason for delay.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Our complex planning system has been a barrier to building the homes people need; it takes 7 years to agree on local housing plans and 5 years just to get a spade in the ground.
“These once in a generation reforms will lay the foundations for a brighter future, providing more homes for young people and creating better quality neighbourhoods and homes across the country.
“We will cut red tape, but not standards, placing higher regard on quality, design and the environment than ever before. Planning decisions will be simple and transparent, with local democracy at the heart of the process.
“As we face the economic effects of the pandemic, now is the time for decisive action and a clear plan for jobs and growth. Our reforms will create thousands of jobs, lessen the dominance of big builders in the system, providing a major boost for small building companies across the country.”