Proposed overhaul of the planning system - Kuits Solicitors Manchester
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Substantial changes to the planning system being reviewed

Substantial changes to the planning system being reviewed

20th August 2020 - Published by Bob Sadler

On 6 August 2020 the government published its long-awaited white paper entitled Planning for the Future. This is a consultation document which proposes a complete overhaul of the planning system.

The government is convinced that the planning system is broken and in order to build more homes and help the recovery post-COVID a complete reform of the planning system is required.

At present the reforms are being consulted upon but insiders say that the consultation is merely a question of how radical the reforms will be, rather than whether there will be any reforms at all.

Consultation points that may impact the planning system

A brief overview of the points being consulted upon is below:

1. Local Plans will be simplified and land divided into three categories:

  • Growth areas suitable for substantial development (which will be defined), and where outline approval for development would be automatically secured for forms and types of development specified in the Plan and associated documents;
  • Renewal areas suitable for some development, such as gentle densification. There will be a statutory presumption in favour of development being granted for specified uses; And
  • Protected areas where development is restricted.

2. Local Plans will be much shorter and focus on identifying site and area specific requirements.

3. There will be national planning policies rather than each authority writing their own.

4. Local Plans will be digitised.

5. Local Plans will be much easier to put in place. The intention is for it to take 30 months in total.

6. There will be design codes introduced for land which has automatic planning permission granted by a Local Plan.

7. There will be a streamlined development management process with automatic planning permission for schemes in line with plans.

8. Planning applications would be required for development not envisaged by the plan. These applications are likely to be harder.

9. There will be a “fast track for beauty”.

10. Assessing environmental impacts will be quicker and simpler.

11. Cil and S106 will be abolished. In their place there will be a new Infrastructure Levy which will be payable upon occupation. The levy rate will be set nationally and it’s will be charged on the final value of the development.

12. The Infrastructure Levy will be expected to pay for all infrastructure and affordable housing.

13. A new binding housing requirement will be introduced.

14. Data will be accessible on all contractual arrangements that control how land is used.

15. There will be more focus on enforcement and the enforcement process will be overhauled.

The White Paper only represents the broad ideas and the detail would follow later.

The consultation ends on 29 October and there will be time required to draft the legislation, pass the legislation, and then implement it.

This is not going to be a swift process but the changes are so far-reaching that they need to be considered now in any relevant transactions.

Get in touch with a planning solicitor in Manchester

If you would like to speak to one of our expert legal advisors about planning matters please contact Bob Sadler on 0161 838 7991 or

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