The government has published its white paper setting out widely trailed intentions for planning reform in England, opening up a public consultation on the proposals that will run until 29 October.
If adopted, the proposals will require that every local authority in England creates a new Local Plan that divides up their jurisdiction into three categories:
Growth areas suitable for “substantial development”, where approval would be automatically granted for proposed developments that meet specifications laid out in the Local Plan;
Renewal areas suitable for “some development, such as gentle densification”;
Protected areas where development is restricted.
The white paper suggests that this pre-classification of areas “could halve the time it takes to secure planning”.
Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at build-to-rent firm Ringley, said the zonal system “will help with the reshaping of town and city centres across the country”, but that “a lot will depend on the local plans and design codes that are adopted.” She added: “The government should also be encouraging institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers, who previously would have invested in offices and shopping centres, to fund the creation of purpose-built rental housing.”
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