A people-focused planning system where land will be zoned as ripe for development, or renewal, is to be unveiled later this week.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph his reforms would offer a faster and simpler system to deliver the homes and places the country needs.
Mr. Jenrick said the slow planning system was a barrier to building affordable homes and vital infrastructure.
“Local building plans were supposed to help councils and their residents deliver more homes in their area, yet they take on average seven years to agree in the form of lengthy and absurdly complex documents and accompanying policies understandable only to the lawyers who feast upon every word,” he said.
He highlighted it took an average of five years to get a standard housing development through the planning system.
Councils reject claims of being an obstacle to approvals
But the Local Government Association described the government´s suggestion that planning was a barrier to housebuilding as a ´myth´.
LGA chairman, Cllr James Jamieson said: “Nine in ten planning applications are approved by councils, while more than a million homes given planning permission in the last decade have not yet been built.”
Cllr Jamieson said it was vital for any reforms to offer residents the right protection to shape the area where they live.
“This needs to be through a locally-led planning system which enables councils to deliver resilient, prosperous places that meet the needs of their communities.”
Mr. Jenrick´s proposals mean land designated for growth would allow development for new homes, hospitals, schools shops, and offices. Renewal areas would have a ‘permission in principle’ approach to balance speed while ensuring appropriate checks were carried out. Protected land would include the green belt and areas of outstanding national beauty.
“Our reforms seek a more diverse and competitive housing industry, in which smaller builders can thrive alongside the big players and where planning permissions are turned into homes faster than they are today,” said Mr. Jenrick.
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said speeding up the planning process would make it easier for smaller SMEs to compete and that property development lenders were keen to support this sector.