The government has announced controversial plans to overhaul England’s planning system. The Housing Secretary says its proposals are designed to speed up the approval process and cut red tape – but some critics have warned that the plans could lead to the “next generation of slum housing”.
The government’s ‘Planning for the future’ consultation proposes that land is designated into one of three categories: ‘growth’, ‘renewal’ or ‘protected’. It is intended that there will be a ‘presumption in favour of development’ within renewal areas.
The government also wants to change the way that developers contribute to developing new infrastructure. It wants to sweep away ‘Section 106’ obligations, which require developers to include specific infrastructure projects in each development and replace it with a consolidated ‘Infrastructure Levy’ which would be charged as a proportion of the development value.
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “These once in a generation reforms will lay the foundations for a brighter future, providing more homes for young people and creating better quality neighbourhoods and homes across the country.”
But critics argue that the new plans will curtail opportunities for local people to have their say in planning decisions and will restrict local council’s ability to take planning decisions. RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: “These shameful proposals do almost nothing to guarantee the delivery of affordable, well-designed and sustainable homes. While they might help to ‘get Britain building’ – paired with the extension of Permitted Development – there’s every chance they could also lead to the creation of the next generation of slum housing.”
James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions says that construction professionals should stay up to date with the emerging plans. “Periods of significant change expose professionals to greater risks. It could lead to tried and tested methods of working for architects, surveyors and construction professionals changing quickly, exposing them to greater risks of errors and claims of negligence.”
The government’s consultation and press release have been published on its website. Reports and responses to the proposals have been published by the BBC, Today’s Conveyancer, RIBA, Friends of the Earth and others.
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