Planning Bill confirmed in the Queen’s Speech
Whilst we await the Government’s response to the greatly debated Planning White Paper published last year, the Queens speech opening Parliament for the 67th time yesterday was a bumper one with over 30 pieces of new legislation announced including a new Planning Bill.
In her speech the Queen confirmed the Government’s intention is to continue with their proposals to radically overhaul the planning system. New laws will be brought forward to modernise the system and ensure that more homes can be built.
The announcement yesterday was brief but given the amount of new legislation proposed is not surprising, but the accompanying briefing notes published shed some insight on what may come forward. However, as was the case with the Planning White Paper last year, the detail is still scant, and the detail is what is imperative in understanding how the new ‘modern planning system’ might work in practice. The detail is what practitioners in the industry need to analyse to understand whether it’s practical and will actually speed up the process and deliver new homes. The skeptic among many of us feel that all governments (of all colours)have ambitions to speed up the planning system and deliver more homes, but the reality is that the system is bogged down with bureaucracy, lack of LPA resource and politics which the proposed reform is unlikely to change.
Notwithstanding this, what we do know from yesterday’s announcement is that improved technology, more public engagement/consultation, new land allocations (zones), local plan reform, a new levy to replace CIL, quicker and simpler mechanisms for assessing environmental impacts and strong rules on design all included in the Planning White Paper, remain key priorities for the Government.
So have they listened to the 44,000 consultation responses received? Yet again, the Government have left us waiting. We are all on tenterhooks to see the detail when it is finally released so we can debate this and understand whether in practice the reforms will actually achieve a modern more efficient planning system.
Nevertheless, even without any of this detail, Boris’ own heartland MPs are already lining up against this, with Teresa May leading the Tory revolt claiming that the proposals will put the wrong houses in the wrong places. So, we expect the Government’s ambitions of reforming the planning system is likely to take some time.