Planning overhaul – key points from the Government’s white paper

by: Mary-Anne Bowring/BTR News

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The Government has published its planning white paper – setting out its intentions for planning reforms in England. The Government has published its white paper setting out its intentions for planning reforms, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as “unlike anything we have seen since the second world war”. Public consultations on the proposals are now open to the public until 29 October 2020. The document – Planning for the future – proposes reforms to speed up and modernise the planning system and to get the country building. Currently only 50% of local areas have plans to build more homes. The new proposals will require all Local Authorities in England to create local plans that split jurisdiction into three categories: Land in growth areas – will be approved for development at the same time that plans are prepared, if local design standards are met. Land in renewal areas will enable much quicker development where it is well-designed in a way which reflects community preferences.

Land in protected areas – development on Green Belt land will continue to be restricted as it’s now with policy remaining a decision for local authorities as they prepare their plans. Industry thoughts Mary-Anne Bowring, Group Managing Director, Ringley said: “The planning reforms announced by Robert Jenrick are certainly welcome news. For years now, the property industry has warned that the planning system is ‘broken and outdated’ – so it’s good to see the government move towards a simpler, rules-based system that will make delivering new homes easier. “While a lot will depend on the local plans and design codes that are adopted, the zonal based system – earmarking land for growth, renewal or protection – will help with the reshaping of town and city centres across the country, which will need repurposing post-pandemic as we adapt to new ways of working, living and shopping.

“One disappointing element to the government’s planning white paper is the continued focus on first-time buyers, with nothing on how to boost the supply of rental housing despite private renters being the fastest growing part of the housing market. “Having already abolished stamp duty for most first-time buyers and introduced a stamp duty holiday generally, the government should look to scrap the additional levy on buy-to-let investors, who still provide the mainstay of private rented accommodation. “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.”

Bea Patel: Planning overhaul – key points from the Government’s white paper


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