Have your say on the future of England’s planning system
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee (MHCLG) has launched a new inquiry to investigate Government proposals to reform the planning system.
It is now seeking views from builders and developers, with a deadline of Friday 30th October.
The Government’s recent White Paper set out significant changes to streamline the planning system, including:
- Simplified land usage designations and automatic permission in principle for development in some areas
- Greater use of digital technology in the planning process
- A National Design Guide to ensure “high quality development” that reflects “local character and preferences”.
The inquiry will examine how well the proposed reforms would support the Government’s target to build 300,000 new homes a year while maintaining high standards of construction.
It will also look at how well the proposals protect existing buildings or localities, and provide mechanisms for local engagement in the planning system – an area that has been hotly debated since the White Paper was published.
How housing need is calculated also facing scrutiny
In addition to fears from some quarters that the proposals ‘remove democracy’ from the planning process, there are also worries about a proposed formula to calculate the need for affordable housing.
How housing need is calculated is included in the inquiry’s call for evidence. The committee is seeking views on the following issues:
- Is the current planning system working as intended? What changes might need to be made? Are the Government’s proposals the right approach?
- In seeking to build 300,000 homes a year, is the greatest obstacle the planning system or the subsequent build-out of properties with permission?
- How can the planning system ensure that buildings are beautiful and fit for purpose?
- What approach should be used to determine the housing need and requirement of a local authority?
- What is the best approach to ensure public engagement in the planning system? What role should modern technology and data play in this?
- How can the planning system ensure adequate and reasonable protection for areas and buildings of environmental, historical, and architectural importance?
- What changes, if any, are needed to the green belt?
- What progress has been made since the Committee’s 2018 report on capturing land value and how might the proposals improve outcomes? What further steps might also be needed?
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