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Planning Reform: Final Thoughts

The White Paper dashes through a range of other topics that are worth mentioning.

Resources - There will be proposals later in the year on how to improve resourcing of planning departments. Helpfully, there is a promise of a comprehensive resources and skills strategy for the sector – it will be needed given the scale of reform proposed and years of under-investment.

As the Government sees it, landowners and developers should essentially fund the cost of operating the new system through planning fees set on a national basis. Pre-application charging will be regulated to ensure it is fair. The new Infrastructure Levy could fund planning costs including of Local Plan preparation. Some activities should however be funded through taxation and time limited funding will be available to support transition.  A new performance framework will ensure continuous improvement and early intervention where authorities do not meet requirements.

The Planning Inspectorate and statutory consultees should transform the way they operate and be more responsive and outward looking – they should be self-financing through new charging mechanisms.

Design - The emphasis on building beautiful underpins the Government’s aims for the new system – the Government is considering establishing a new body to support the delivery of design codes and requiring each LPA to have a chief officer for design and placemaking. Changes to the NPPF will be consulted on in the autumn following the recommendations of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission.

Public sector – Much is said on the public sector supporting the new approach. Decisions on where new public buildings go must support renewal and regeneration of town centres and public land disposal must support SME and self-build sectors. Homes England must consider strengthening its objectives to give greater weight to design quality.

Transitional arrangements – These are to be considered further, with the aim of minimising disruption to plans and development proposals.  Recently approved plans, existing permissions and s106 obligations should continue to be implemented.

Further consultations ahead!

This article was written by Claire Fallows, for more information, please contact her at claire.fallows@crsblaw.com.

This article is part of a Planning Reforms: The Second Wave newsletter, click here for more information

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