Planning Reform

Planning Reform

Some early encouraging signs but as ever the key will be the devil in the detail itself.

Phase 2 summarise our initial thoughts on what we have heard from the new Labour Government so far:

  • A consultation on a new draft of the NPPF to take place before the end of July 2024. This will be growth focused, strengthening the presumption in favour of sustainable development and likely to include key changes in respect of LPA housing requirements and Green Belt policy. How these matters will be defined will be essential to the early success of any change/updated policy stance to enable real growth objectives to be realised and we await such consultation with eagle eyes. The new draft NPPF is likely to make clear that universal coverage of Local Plans and reviews of Green Belt boundaries ‘will be expected’ of LPAs. This does not appear to be the strongest requirement and how this is enforced will likely be key to the success of any such new policy stance. The effectiveness of updated PPG should also not be underestimated here;
  • A new task force to accelerate stalled housing projects. It will be interesting to see the approach any task force takes here and what contribution these ‘stalled’ housing projects may make to housing land supply in the short-term;
  • Pledge to fund 300 extra planning officers. Spread between all LPAs this does not even equate to 1 new officer per LPA and far greater funding/support is likely to be needed to deliver on the 1.5 million new homes objective during this Government; and
  • The ban on new onshore wind schemes in England would be ended. The government have also stated that they will “go further and consult on bringing onshore wind back into the nationally significant infrastructure projects regime”.

Other areas of note include expanding the spatial plan for energy by extending this to other infrastructure sectors and new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months ahead of updated relevant national policy statements within the year.

The initial signs are encouraging but are really only a start to delivering on the number of new homes and critical infrastructure that England needs. How this will be properly resourced, implemented and enforced at the local level will be key to getting anywhere near the 1.5 million new homes to be delivered during this Government.

Phase 2 will keep on top of latest developments so that we can continue to advise our diverse range of clients on what this will mean in practice and shaping planning strategy accordingly.