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House of Commons publishes road map to future planning reform

Last week, the House of Commons Library published its briefing paper on the Government's proposals for planning reform.

The briefing paper, which is a concise 35 pages and can be accessed via the link below, neatly summarises all of the planning reforms which are currently under consultation or  before parliament. 

The most interesting aspects of the briefing, however, are tucked away at the  very end of the paper, in a section which summarises forthcoming reforms. 

It appears that the following are next on the government's planning reform agenda:

Permitted Development Rights

  • introducing permanent office to residential conversion rights;
  • introducing new permitted development rights for oil and gas exploration;
  • introducing new permitted development rights for state funded schools;
  • introducing new permitted development rights for upward extensions in London; and
  • reviewing the threshold for barn to residential conversions in rural areas. 

S.106 Agreements

  • speeding up the procedure for negotiating s.106 Agreements;
  • introducing a standardised approach to viability assessments; and
  • extending the ability to appeal unviable s.106 agreements to 2018.

Small Sites Exemptions

  • re-introducing exemptions from some affordable housing and s.106 contributions for residential development sites of ten homes or fewer.

Community Infrastructure Levy

  • reform of CIL following the report of the working group currently tasked with reviewing how the levy is working in practice. 

Changes to Planning Policy

  • improving guidance on the Duty to Co-operate
  • introducing a requirement for higher density housing around commuter hubs, such as railway stations;
  • amending the definition of Affordable Housing in the NPPF;
  • putting policies in place to make it easier to release unused employment land for starter homes; and
  • strengthening policy to provide more support for new towns.


  • streamlining the number of consents needed for nationally significant infrastructure projects, and rolling some of them into the NSIP regime;
  • introducing legislation/ revised planning guidance to underpin the functions and remit of the National Infrastructure Commission.

All in all, 2016 is shaping up to be an interesting year!