The Government has launched the consultation on the Planning for the Future White Paper, with the aim of reforming the planning system, to streamline the planning process and accelerate delivery of new homes.
The White Paper sets out three pillars which will form the future of the planning system.
Firstly, ‘Planning for development’. In a new approach to plan making it is the proposed move towards a ‘zonal’ planning system, with land allocated as one of three zones, Growth Areas (suitable for substantial and comprehensive development e.g. new settlements and urban extensions), Renewal Areas (existing built areas where smaller development is appropriate, such as existing residential areas, town centres, rural areas and infill sites in villages) and Protected Areas (Green Belt, Conservation Areas and AONBs, as well as areas of countryside outside of defined Growth or Renewal Areas).
As part of this move to a more zonal system it is proposed that Local Plans should be more focused, clear and transparent with the new plans being assessed against a single statutory ‘sustainable development’ test rather than the ‘soundness test’, to ensure plans strike the right balance between environmental, social and economic objectives, in order to secure a faster route to securing permission.
A revised standard methodology for calculating the supply of housing will be created. This will establish the housing requirement at a national level and it will then be the responsibility of the local planning authority to allocate land sufficient to meet the requirement over the plan period, which is proposed to be reduced to 10 years.
As part of the proposed streamlined approach to development management generic development management policies will be set out in a revised NPPF and outline planning permission will automatically be granted for the principle of development in Growth Areas, therefore only detailed planning permission would be required. In ‘Renewal’ areas, be a presumption in favour of development would apply, and other forms of development may benefit from an ‘automatic consent’ subject to prior approval.
Pillar Two ‘Planning for beautiful and sustainable places’ seek to create a vision for places and engaging communities. To achieve this a National Model Design Code will be published setting out more detailed design parameters for development in different types of locations.
Pillar Three ‘Planning for infrastructure and connected places’ focuses on reforms to developer contributions with proposals to replace Section 106 agreements and CIL with a consolidated nationally set ‘Infrastructure Levy’ to be charged on the final value of the development and levied at the point of occupation.
The consultation is open until 11.45pm on 29th October 2020 and if you wish to discuss the proposed changes please contact our experienced planning team.