Latest Planning Reform Announcement by George Osborne

Comments From Martha Grekos Of Irwin Mitchell


Building on his  2015 Summer Budget, Chancellor George Osborne clarified further details on the Government attitude to reforming the planning system.

Key areas to be addressed included:

  • Releasing Land for the homes people need: In particular the Government will  ensure that local authorities put in place local plans by a set deadline- to be confirmed before summer recess. Where plans are not in place the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will intervene to arrange for local plans to be written, in consultation with local people. The Government will also bring forward proposals to significantly streamline the length and process of local plans,  consider how policy can support higher density housing around key commuter hubs and will consider how national policy and guidance can ensure that unneeded commercial land can be released for housing.
  • A zonal system for brownfield land: The Government has already committed to legislate for statutory registers of brownfield land suitable for housing in England and will now  go further by legislating to grant automatic permission in principle on brownfield sites on those registers. This will give England a “zonal” system, reducing unnecessary delay and uncertainty for brownfield development. The Government will also consider the case for additional compulsory purchase reforms to further modernise the system, and will bring forward proposals in the autumn.
  • Improving the planning process – ensuring planning decisions are made on time: This will be by measures including legislation to allow major infrastructure projects with an element of housing to apply through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Regime (NSIP),  tightening  the planning performance regime so that local planning authorities making 50% or fewer decisions on time are at risk of being designated “poorly performing” and by continuing  to reduce net regulation on house builders. The Government does not intend to proceed with the zero carbon Allowable Solutions carbon offsetting scheme, or the proposed 2016 increase in on-site energy efficiency standards, but will keep energy efficiency standards under review, recognising that existing measures to increase energy efficiency of new buildings should be allowed time to become established.
  • Devolving more planning powers to the Mayor of London: This will be by allowing him to call in planning applications of 50 dwellings or more, and working  with the Mayor to introduce proposals to remove the need for planning permission for upwards extensions for a limited number of stories up to the height of adjoining buildings. The Government will also devolve new powers to the future Mayor of Greater Manchester and will bring forward proposals to allow the mayor to produce development corporations and promote compulsory purchase orders.