Government publishes planning white paper for its 'once-in-a generation' overhaul

August 07, 2020

'Planning for the Future', the UK government's new white paper, which aims to overhaul the English planning system in a "once in a generation shake-up", has been published.  Its importance is illustrated by being introduced by not one, but two, forewords – one from Robert Jenrick, The Secretary of State, and the other from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Commenting on the far-reaching proposals, Peter Leaver, director in JLL’s Planning team, said:

“The ambition of the proposals cannot be faulted. Planning has become overcomplicated, opaque and expensive.  Simplification in certain areas is required. However, the very standardised proposed approach to the planning process, to use an exam analogy – more multiple choice than essay – may not deliver the quality and pace of development, particularly housing, that is desired.

“The government is only looking at reform of the process. No changes are proposed to policy. It resolutely refuses to contemplate a different approach to the Green Belt – a concept as old as the Planning System itself. Arguably, it is this stance that is frustrating development of the houses and business premises that the country needs.”

“Some of the proposals are not new. For example, the planning permission in principle was introduced three years ago.  It has been used only infrequently since and it will be interesting to see whether Local Planning Authorities will now embrace this concept”. 

The White Paper is being consulted on for 12 weeks with an opportunity to make comments running to 29 October 2020.  Thereafter, any changes will be required to be enacted by both primary and second legislation and reviews made to both the National Planning Policy Framework and the Planning Practice Guidance. 

A separate consultation is being undertaken simultaneously on proposed changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need.

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