The government’s White Paper, which was released in early August, has a twelve-week consultation and feedback period. The proposed planning reforms include:
More land to be made available
The government will impose housing requirements on local councils, with those in more affluent areas required to release the most land.
This reform will allow the government to distribute a national target, at present 300,000 new homes a year, to councils, leaving them with only the discretion of which land to designate for building rather than how much.
More affordable housing
A single Infrastructure Levy will be introduced, which will be collected and distributed by central government. It will replace both Section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy that councils previously collected.
The government is also starting a First Homes scheme in which a 30% discount on properties sold to first-time buyers is locked in so that the next buyer can benefit. The government believes that more affordable homes can be built as the new system will be more flexible and efficient.
Every local authority will have a local plan that sets clear rules for development, and these have to be completed within thirty months. These will invite residents and politicians to get involved at the planning stage, with little or no say over individual developments once those plans are in place. After that, new buildings will have to meet a single “sustainable development” test that replaces existing assessments on the local impact on the environment and viability.
Everything to go digital
The government wants all information about development applications available to view on your phone, including how much developers are paying through the new Infrastructure Levy. This means residents and developers will no longer have to request reams of documents, which the government says is old fashioned and time-consuming.
National Design Codes to be introduced
A national design code that will set out clear rules for developers and allow for some variance at a local level. One of the aims of this is to fast-track approval for ‘beautiful’ developments. It also wants all new streets to be tree-lined and new homes to be carbon neutral by 2050.