Government issues policy document on forthcoming changes to planning system

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published a policy document that summarises prospective changes to the planning system including aspects outside of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

The document, titled Levelling Up and Regeneration: Further Information, covers:

  • The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill: how the legislation sets up “a robust framework for levelling-up” by providing a legal basis for the setting and reporting against the levelling up missions; devolving powers to all areas in England that want them, providing more control over budgets, transport and skills; empowering local leaders to regenerate towns and cities and restore local pride in places; improving the planning process.
  • The Government’s programme for giving more power to local leaders: “Simplifying and strengthening devolution arrangements so that more local leaders are empowered to deliver for their communities and local economies.”
  • The Government’s programme for making better places: a genuinely plan-led system, “getting simple, meaningful local plans in place faster that give more certainty to communities that the right homes will be built in the right places”.
  • Delivering infrastructure: “A simple, non-negotiable, locally set Infrastructure Levy will ensure that developers pay their fair share to deliver the infrastructure that communities need.”
  • Creating beautiful places and improving environmental outcomes: “Ensuring new development meets clear design standards which reflect community views, a strengthened framework of environmental outcomes, and expanded protections for the places people value.”
  • Regeneration: “Enabling the regeneration of brownfield and other underused land to support local economic growth, whilst rejuvenating town centres by reducing blight and enabling high streets to thrive.”
  • Market reform: “Rebalancing the housing and land markets by increasing transparency, addressing second and empty homes, and giving smaller builders greater opportunities to enter the market.”
  • Wider improvements to planning procedures: “The digital transformation of planning services, alongside wider improvements to speed up procedures and deter breaches of planning control.”
  • Next steps: there will consultations on provisions can be taken forward including: technical consultations on the detail of the Infrastructure Levy and changes to compulsory purchase compensation; a consultation on the new system of Environmental Outcomes Reports; a technical consultation on the quality standards that Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects will be required to meet to be considered for fast-track consenting and associated regulatory and guidance changes to improve the performance of the NSIP regime; proposals for changes to planning fees; a vision for the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), detailing what a new Framework could look like, and indicating, in broad terms, the types of National Development Management Policy that could accompany it. 

The DLUHC will publish further details of its plans for transition, but said that in broad terms changes to planning procedures will begin to take place from 2024, once the Bill has Royal Assent and associated regulations and changes to national policy are in place.

The policy document can be viewed here.

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