Jenrick lays out planning system proposals

Jake Carter

March 12, 2020

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has laid out proposals to bring Britain’s planning system into the 21st century.

The aim is to get the country building more properties.

As part of the new proposals, councils will be encouraged to take a more innovative approach to house building.

Jenrick outlines that this will mean the redevelopment of high streets is housing-led, as well as building upwards and above and around stations.

In April, the government will launch a register of brownfield sites, which will map out unused land.

This development is to encourage councils to utilise the land and is backed by a £400m government investment.

Furthermore, Jenrick announced that developers would be able to demolish vacant commercial, industrial and residential buildings with the intention to replace them with well- designed homes.

As part of this, the government has removed lengthy planning process, as new plans will be consulted on by the government, this means that more homes will be able to be delivered quickly.

Additionally, the government will review how councils assess how many homes are needed in its area, and incentivise those to deliver on its figures.

All local authorities will also be required to have up-to-date local plans in place by December 2023. If local authorities fail to comply, the government will intervene.

The proposals come ahead of plans for a planning white paper, which is set to reform the planning system by speeding up the decision-making process.

According to the government, good design and place making will be quintessential to the new system, championing tree-lined streets, and a commitment to lower carbon emissions in all new homes.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP added: “I want everyone, no matter where they live, to have access to affordable, safe, quality housing and live in communities with a real sense of place – as part of our mission to level up, unite and unleash the potential of this country.

“We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people onto the ladder.”

Andy Sommerville, director Search Acumen, said: “The plans announced today by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick are comprehensive and far ranging – which may be the stimulus needed to throw off England’s housebuilding torpor.

“We particularly welcome the government’s decision to continue Esther McVey’s initiative for building a brownfield data bank.

“Maximising the space for development in urban areas is key if we are to prevent a two tier system of housing in this country where rural areas are oversupplied with affordable housing but with no buyers, and densely populated cities become housing deserts for those who want to buy somewhere affordable.

“However, effective data management protocols will be essential to underpin these brownfield registries, and this is where the Government could have done more to anticipate changes to the way we buy, sell, and build.

“After all, what is the point of creating a valuable resource if developers and property lawyers cannot access what they need when they need it?

“Compelling local authorities to expedite their planning processes could have some benefits but using 20th Century methods to accommodate a 21st Century population may well just produce more pressure in an already congested system.

“Instead, helping to centralise property data, digitalise the LLC system and increase automation will help reduce the time it takes to secure permission, better inform which land can be developed and speed up the rate at which they are sold. If we want to build for the future we can do better than the tools of the past.”

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