The Queen's Speech and The Planning Bill

Within the Queen’s Speech the government has set out its proposed laws to modernise the planning system. The Planning Bill will look to introduce a number of planning reforms that were set out in the government’s planning white paper that was published last year.

The purpose of the Planning Bill is to create a faster and more modern planning system and ensure that infrastructure (like schools and hospitals) can be delivered more speedily across England. It will also seek to change the planning system into a more efficient and easier to use digital and map-based service.

The government state that this will provide more certainty for communities and developers as it will set out clear allocations for land in local plans and stronger rules on design. It will provide simpler, faster procedures for producing local development plans, approving major schemes and negotiating affordable housing and infrastructure contributions from development. It is intended that the system will be digitised so that it is more visual and easier for local people to engage with.

The Planning Bill is designed to change local plans so as to provide more certainty as to the type, scale and design of development permitted on different categories of land. It will seek to reduce the time that it takes for developments to be processed in the planning system and also replace the existing systems for funding affordable housing and infrastructure from development with a new more predictable and transparent levy.

Concerns have been raised by countryside campaigners that the proposals could lead to the “suburbanisation” of the countryside, while London Councils have also expressed concern that the changes could result in more “slum housing” being built. Given that the impetus is to relax planning rules and increase development, it will be interesting to see how the Planning Bill plays politically given the Conservative Party’s core support base can often be resistant to development.  In addition, the proposed scrapping of section 106 agreements and the replacement by a new infrastructure levy will create a substantial change to how planning contributions are secured and will be likely to have a particular impact on the mechanism for the delivery of affordable housing.

Posted on: 14/05/2021

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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