Planning set for major shakeup

Planning set for major shakeup

BLOG · BY TTF CEO DAVID HOPKINS · 10 August

The Government’s new planning reforms proposals may still not help solve the housing crisis nor edge us closer to our net zero carbon by 2050 pledge. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to ‘cut red tape, but not standards, placing a higher regard on quality, design and the environment than ever before’, and ‘create thousands of jobs and lessen the dominance of big builders in the system, providing a major boost for small building companies across the country’.

Yesterday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, released the anticipated Planning for the Future White Paper, which is now open for consultation over the next 12 weeks. The announced intention of creating a more open, transparent, and simple planning system is laudable, as well as the reintroduction of more SME’s into the sector.

However good intentions are not sufficient foundation for a single home, let alone a planning system with effects rippling long into the future. Some aspects, such as the digitisation of planning, the ‘tree-lined’ streets policy, and encouragement of MMC, but many others seem at a glance deeply worrying, such as the removal of local discretion in some areas.

We are still working our way through the document, but we share concerns with other commentators around any erosion of standards and are seeking to understand the exact issue the Government is seeking to resolve. According to an LGA report this year, more than one million homes given planning permission in the last decade have not yet been built.

At the TTF we are concerned there is a risk these reforms will see more permissions being granted long term, but not necessarily more houses being completed – as it is simply not clear that these changes to the planning system will result in more houses being built.

We also note the LGA report suggests that it is Local Authorities who can ensure more sites with permission are completed if they are given the means, yet the reforms are suggesting less decision at a local level. Perhaps, at least in the short term, we should be concentrating on completions rather than permissions.

We will seek to provide fuller analysis, and in time a response to the consultation in turn with our members.

To find out more about the consultation and to submit your response please click here.

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