2023 was notable for its absence of substantial planning reform; can we hope for more in 2024?
Over the last 13 years, the Government has proposed multiple reforms to the planning system, yet none has been implemented due to lack of support and backing. During this time, the position of Planning Minister has been occupied by 16 different ministers. This constant rotation is quite evidently one of the main obstacles preventing the achievement of significant reform.
The proposed reforms in the Autumn Statement, such as the introduction of a premium planning service and funding to tackle backlogs in local planning authorities, lack sufficient substance to effectively address the issue at hand.
What is truly needed are reforms that directly result in the building of more homes. This should involve significant funding to increase resources for local planning authorities, measures to ensure up-to-date Local Plans are in place, and legislative changes to deal with issues such as nutrient neutrality. Without these essential reforms, the Government's aspirations for growth through improved infrastructure and commercial development will remain unattainable.
In essence, the Government's current proposals for planning reform are inadequate to address the long-standing issues within the system. The time for meaningful and effective planning reform is now, and it requires more than just lip service from policymakers.