Whether Green Field or Brown field, more development expected through Planning Reform!

The Telegraph’s Peter Dominiczak today writes:

George Osborne to force councils to build homes in overhaul of the planning system

Local communities will be forced to accept development against their will if they are failing to build enough homes, George Osborne is to announce as he begins a significant overhaul of the country’s planning system.

The Chancellor will say that sweeping planning reforms are needed to “confront the challenge of our lifetime” by “raising productivity and living standards” to make Britain the richest country in the world.

Warning that Britain has been “incapable of building enough homes”, Mr Osborne will say that the Government will in future “intervene” and ensure councils have plans “setting out how housing needs will be met”.

However, in a boost to countryside campaigners the changes to the planning system will protect Green Belt land and instead allow automatic planning permission on all suitable brownfield sites across the country.

The Conservatives are aware that the reforms are likely to antagonise some grassroots supporters as well as countryside campaigners.

However, they believe that the problem of a lack of suitable housing is so grave that dramatic action is now necessary.

As part of the new planning measures, Mr Osborne will create a new “zonal” system, which will give automatic planning permission to developers who want to build in a designated area of brownfield land.

In a controversial move, any major infrastructure project which has “elements of housing development” will be fast-tracked, potentially forcing thousands of homes on areas of the country that do not want them.

Local communities will be forced to accept development against their will if they are failing to build enough homes, George Osborne is to announce as he begins a significant overhaul of the country’s planning system.

The Chancellor will say that sweeping planning reforms are needed to “confront the challenge of our lifetime” by “raising productivity and living standards” to make Britain the richest country in the world.

Warning that Britain has been “incapable of building enough homes”, Mr Osborne will say that the Government will in future “intervene” and ensure councils have plans “setting out how housing needs will be met”.

However, in a boost to countryside campaigners the changes to the planning system will protect Green Belt land and instead allow automatic planning permission on all suitable brownfield sites across the country.

In London, there will be no need to obtain planning permission for “upwards extensions” of two storeys. This measure could also apply in Manchester under plans to devolve planning powers to the city.

“Britain has been incapable of building enough homes,” Mr Osborne said. The reforms we made to the planning system in the last parliament have started to improve the situation: planning permissions and housing starts are at a seven-year high.

“But we need to go further and I am not prepared to stand by when people who want to get on the housing ladder can’t do so.

“We’ll keep on protecting the green belt, but these latest planning reforms are a vital part of a comprehensive plan to confront the challenge of our lifetime and raise productivity and living standards.”

The Chancellor added: “This will not be achieved overnight and will require a truly national effort by government, business and working people. But with this productivity plan, I believe that we have taken the vital first step towards securing the prosperity and a livelihoods of generations to come.

Mr Osborne will on Friday unveil a 90-page blueprint entitled “Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation” which he believes will make every British family richer.

He will say that productivity – a measure of economic output per worker per hour – has persistently lagged behind other major economies.

Matching the productivity of the US would increase GDP by 31 per cent, the equivalent of £21,000 a year for every household in the UK.

Increasing it by just 0.1 per cent would mean the UK economy would be £35billion larger in 2030 – the equivalent of £1,100 extra for every household.

He will unveil detailed proposals to improve higher education, transport, trade, devolution of power to cities and regions as well as new measures on tax, digital projects and science.

“‘It is my ambition that by 2030, Britain becomes the richest of all major economies.”

Changes to planning rules, brought in during the last Parliament, introduced a “presumption of sustainable development” to force through more house building.

Under the controversial rules, which were vehemently opposed by campaigners, councils have to identify a five-year supply of land to meet demand for new properties in their area.

Councils which fail to adopt local plans setting out where building can take place are at risk from developers.

However, many local authorities have still failed to come up with local plans.

Under the new rules announced by Mr Osborne, there will be tough penalties for councils that fail to make 50 per cent or fewer planning decisions on time.

Local authorities that are not building homes will effectively be put under “special measures” and have development forced on them.

Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, said: “This plan lays the foundations for a stronger future. Every part of government will be involved.

“Under-supply of housing pushes up house prices in many areas and means millions of people can’t live and work where they want to, or even own their own home. We are absolutely determined to see more planning permissions granted and more houses built.”

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2 responses to “Whether Green Field or Brown field, more development expected through Planning Reform!

  1. Steve Sawkins

    Before those mindful to do so start to celebrate that this new initiative will effectively mean that a Plan that endorses the aspiration to provide the Councils needs, be it housing or industrial developments, predominately on Canvey Island, can now be strengthened. will have to take other issues into account. Viability and desirability of the most profitable sites will play a decisive roll in the whole process, particularly where the developer already owns the land.

    Planners/ decision makers, will need to give consideration to the following guidance:-

    Paragraph: 019 Reference ID: 3-019-20140306
    Question:-
    What factors should be considered when assessing the suitability of sites/broad locations for development?

    Plan makers should assess the suitability of the identified use or mix of uses of a particular site or broad location including consideration of the types of development that may meet the needs of the community. These may include, but are not limited to: market housing, private rented, affordable housing, people wishing to build their own homes, housing for older people, or for economic development uses.
    Assessing the suitability of sites or broad locations for development should be guided by:
    • the development plan, emerging plan policy and national policy;
    • market and industry requirements in that housing market or functional economic market area.
    When assessing the sites against the adopted development plan, plan makers will need to take account of how up to date the plan policies are and consider the appropriateness of identified constraints on sites/broad location and whether such constraints may be overcome.
    Sites in existing development plans or with planning permission will generally be considered suitable for development although it may be necessary to assess whether circumstances have changed which would alter their suitability. This will include a re-appraisal of the suitability of previously allocated land and the potential to designate allocated land for different or a wider range of uses. This should be informed by a range of factors including the suitability of the land for different uses and by market signals, which will be useful in identifying the most appropriate use.
    In addition to the above considerations, the following factors should be considered to assess a site’s suitability for development now or in the future:
    • physical limitations or problems such as access, infrastructure, ground conditions, flood risk, hazardous risks, pollution or contamination;
    • potential impacts including the effect upon landscapes including landscape features, nature and heritage conservation;
    • appropriateness and likely market attractiveness for the type of development proposed;
    • contribution to regeneration priority areas;
    • environmental/amenity impacts experienced by would be occupiers and neighbouring areas.

    Those of us that may take some comfort that our particular precious green belt site, can be protected, will still have concerns that some of our elected representatives seem to be selective in exactly what areas of green belt are worthy of saving.
    We all need to be vigilant as the goal posts keep moving, some goal post will disappear altogether.

    • It MUST be borne in mind that the picture will take on a whole new perspective once the daft New Local Plan is submitted.
      It will be supported by a Green Belt Review, this will likely remove from protection vast areas of previously protected land.
      Residents can only speculate and come up with the worse case scenario whilst the Local Plan Task and Finish Group are inactive.
      The consultation appears stunted.
      We look forward to next week’s CPBC Cabinet informing residents why the lack of activity.

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