White Paper: Planning for the future-Proposals
Pillar One – Planning for development A NEW APPROACH TO PLAN-MAKING
Proposal 1: The role of land use plans should be simplified. We propose that Local Plans should identify three types of land – Growth areas suitable for substantial development, Renewal areas suitable for development, and areas that are Protected.
Proposal 2: Development management policies established at national scale and an altered role for Local Plans.
Proposal 3: Local Plans should be subject to a single statutory “sustainable development” test, replacing the existing tests of soundness.
Proposal 4: A standard method for establishing housing requirement figures which ensures enough land is released in the areas where affordability is worst, to stop land supply being a barrier to enough homes being built. The housing requirement would factor in land constraints and opportunities to more effectively use land, including through densification where appropriate, to ensure that the land is identified in the most appropriate areas and housing targets are met.
A STREAMLINED DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT PROCESS WITH AUTOMATIC PLANNING PERMISSION FOR SCHEMES IN LINE WITH PLANS
Proposal 5: Areas identified as Growth areas (suitable for substantial development) would automatically be granted outline planning permission for the principle of development, while automatic approvals would also be available for pre-established development types in other areas suitable for building.
Proposal 6: Decision-making should be faster and more certain, with firm deadlines, and make greater use of digital technology.
A NEW INTERACTIVE, WEB-BASED MAP STANDARD FOR PLANNING DOCUMENTS
Proposal 7: Local Plans should be visual and map-based, standardised, based on the latest
digital technology, and supported by a new template.
A STREAMLINED, MORE ENGAGING PLAN-MAKING PROCESS
Proposal 8: Local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate will be required through legislation to meet a statutory timetable for key stages of the process, and we will consider what sanctions there would be for those who fail to do so.
Proposal 9: Neighbourhood Plans should be retained as an important means of community input, and we will support communities to make better use of digital tools.
SPEEDING UP THE DELIVERY OF DEVELOPMENT
Proposal 10: A stronger emphasis on build out through planning Pillar Two – Planning for beautiful and sustainable places CREATING FRAMEWORKS FOR QUALITY
Proposal 11: To make design expectations more visual and predictable, we will expect design guidance and codes to be prepared locally with community involvement, and ensure that codes are more binding on decisions about development.
Proposal 12: To support the transition to a planning system which is more visual and rooted in local preferences and character, we will set up a body to support the delivery of provably locally-popular design codes, and propose that each authority should have a chief officer for design and place-making.
Proposal 13: To further embed national leadership on delivering better places, we will consider how Homes England’s strategic objectives can give greater emphasis to delivering beautiful places.
A FAST-TRACK FOR BEAUTY
Proposal 14: We intend to introduce a fast-track for beauty through changes to national policy and legislation, to incentivise and accelerate high quality development which reflects local character and preferences.
EFFECTIVE STEWARDSHIP AND ENHANCEMENT OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT
Proposal 15: We intend to amend the National Planning Policy Framework to ensure that it targets those areas where a reformed planning system can most effectively play a role in mitigating and adapting to climate change and maximising environmental benefits.
Proposal 16: We intend to design a quicker, simpler framework for assessing environmental impacts and enhancement opportunities, that speeds up the process while protecting and enhancing the most valuable and important habitats and species in England.
Proposal 17: Conserving and enhancing our historic buildings and areas in the 21st Century
Proposal 18: To complement our planning reforms, we will facilitate ambitious improvements in the energy efficiency standards for buildings to help deliver our world-leading commitment to net-zero by 2050.
Pillar Three – Planning for infrastructure and connected places
A CONSOLIDATED INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY
Proposal 19: The Community Infrastructure Levy should be reformed to be charged as a fixed proportion of the development value above a threshold, with a mandatory nationally-set rate or rates and the current system of planning obligations abolished.
Proposal 20: The scope of the Infrastructure Levy could be extended to capture changes of use through permitted development rights.
Proposal 21: The reformed Infrastructure Levy should deliver affordable housing provision
Proposal 22: More freedom could be given to local authorities over how they spend the Infrastructure Levy
Proposal 23: As we develop our final proposals for this new planning system, we will develop a comprehensive resources and skills strategy for the planning sector to support the implementation of our reforms. In doing so, we propose this strategy will be developed including the following key elements:
Proposal 24: We will seek to strengthen enforcement powers and sanctions.