Purpose of Report
To update the Executive on the content of the recent White Paper consultation from central government on reforming the planning system.
That the conclusions of the report and the suggested response to each question of the White Paper consultation document in relation to planning reform be endorsed.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Reason for Decision
The focus of the White paper centred on increasing the availability of new homes. It was widely accepted that there was a shortage of available housing in the United Kingdom and there had been a number of attempts in recent years to firstly cite the planning system as the main reason for this shortage, and then to make numerous alterations to both the policy framework and development management procedures in an attempt to address the perceived problem. Despite this context of almost perpetual alteration to the system, authorities across the country approved the overwhelming majority of planning applications and in most cases could do little more to assist in the delivery of more housing.
It was reported that there are currently between 800,000 and one million houses that had been granted planning permission across the country but had not been built out, yet the White Paper consultation proposed radical change to the land use planning system as the means to address what was largely an economic problem.
The White Paper outlined that, broadly speaking, the planning system should move to one of zoning as happens in some other countries. To this end it proposed the following three categories would apply to all land within a district boundary as part of the local plan allocation process:
· Growth –applications for new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices in areas “suitable for substantial development” in growth zones would be given automatic outline planning permission. Developers would, however, still need to secure reserved matters permission in accordance with locally developed design codes and “site-specific technical issues”;
· Renewal – proposals in urban areas, such as densification and infill, on brownfield sites and relating to “small sites within or on the edge of villages” would be given “permission in principle”;
· Protection - development would not be permitted in protected areas such as the Green Belt and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The report outlined the implications of proposed changes to the planning system in respect of the Local Plan, the role of councillors and development management, public engagement, Section 106 Agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy, housing targets, design, enforcement and delivering change.
A summary of the questions posed as part of the consultation, together with suggested responses to each question, was appended to the report.
The consultation was open until 29 October 2020 and, subject to the outcome of the consultation, the government would seek to bring legislation and policy changes to implement its reforms, acknowledging that not all aspects of the system would be comprehensively covered, with the detail of some proposals still requiring further development. Proposals would require primary legislation followed ... view the full minutes text for item 26