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Mixed Reviews to Overhaul of Planning System

17.08.20

The Government has launched a consultation into a sweeping overhaul of the English planning system The over-arching reform to streamline the planning process by slashing red tape and modernising “sluggish” and “outdated” procedures is enjoying mixed views. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick floated some of the headline ideas in a newspaper column at the weekend – including a new “permission in principle” for some schemes and a revamped zonal system of land categorisation; these received a rather hostile response from many in the property sector.

Now the full suite of reforms has been revealed via a consultation, which runs from 6th August until 29th October 2020.

New measures are intended to create more development-ready land, so enabling “more high quality homes to be built in the right places”. The government also hopes that they will go some way to meeting climate change and environmental objectives (a new Future Homes Standard is currently being considered by the Ministry), and that they will promote diversity in the housing industry be encouraging SME builders.

The White Paper is “a big step in the right direction”, nods the RICS, while housebuilder Gleeson is a big fan of everything. But top architecture firm Assael urges caution over the “design codes”, planning firm Bidwells doesn’t think the reforms go far enough, and the Labour Party has called the proposals “a developers’ charter”.

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