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Government launches planning consultation

Ryan Fowler

August 6, 2020

The government has set out plans to overhaul what it calls the “outdated planning system” and reform the way the country builds.

The government has plans to streamline processes, cut red tape and harness technology with the aim of delivering homes faster.

The changes will see the planning process overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned at appeal.

A simpler national levy will also replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Our complex planning system has been a barrier to building the homes people need; it takes seven years to agree local housing plans and five 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 a 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.”

Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, added: “Few areas of the industry are calling out for transformation more than the UK’s planning system which places a greater emphasis on documents rather than data and local officials’ knowledge of the areas they directly manage.

“COVID-19 has acted as catalyst for the digitisation of several areas of the property sector and the planning sector is no exception. The pandemic has highlighted the need for digital access from anywhere.

“Now is the time to put data at the heart of the planning processes. By enabling widespread access to interactive maps and instant access to land and property data, we can ensure that the risks are properly assessed even before a brick has been laid.

“This will in turn lead to cost efficiencies for the sector while also meaning we can more swiftly and efficiently meet the housing needs of the nation both now and in the future.”


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