By Frances Traynor
14th March 2018
Thu 08 Mar 2018 by Frances Traynor
Planning reform is at the heart of the Government's new pledge on increasing the number of new homes in England. An overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework will provide a comprehensive approach for planners, developers and councils to build more homes more quickly. The public has been invited to have its say on the proposed changes.
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Developers and councils will also have to work with community groups to give them a say on how new developments look.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced the changes on March 5, part of the Government's pledge to deliver 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s.
Councils will have a new housing delivery test that will focus on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than simply those with planning permission. Meanwhile, developers will have to provide affordable housing and community infrastructure.
To free up more land for housing, local authorities will be encouraged to make the most of existing brownfield land for homes that maximise density, such as apartment blocks.
Green belt protection remains in place with under-utilised and industrial space repurposed for homes, and where existing blocks of flats, shops and offices can be extended upwards, councils will have more flexibility on planning permissions.
Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Reforming the planning system is the crucial next step to building the homes the country needs. There is no silver bullet to this problem, but we're rewriting the rules on planning so we can take action on all fronts.
"In moving to a more integrated society, the focus for everyone, whether a developer or a neighbourhood group, must be to come together to build the homes our communities deserve."
John Acres, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, welcomed the consultation on changing national planning policy.
He added: "Planners are critical to and passionate about building vibrant and connected neighbourhoods, towns, cities and wider areas; at the heart of which we need to ensure we build enough good quality homes that fit the needs of all.
"A clear, concise and consistent policy context can help to deliver this."
The consultation on the planning changes is open until May 10.