Planning White Paper

It is important to note with all the excitement generated around the White Paper that there are in fact two consultations being undertaken with two different deadlines. Both are summarized below. The first set of changes can be delivered though amendments to policy and do not require legislative changes.

Changes to improve the effectiveness of the current planning system

Responses to these proposed policy changes are due on 1st October 2020. These include:

  • Changes to the standard method for calculating the housing requirement:
    • Step 1: Changes to methodology to reflect size of exiting dwelling stock as well as population and household projections
    • Step 2: Changes to methodology to reflect both current affordability ratio and changes to affordability over time.
  • Delivering “First Homes
    • These are to make up at least 25% of all affordable housing on sites
    • These are homes for sale at 30% market discount
    • These can be delivered as exceptions sites and include a small element of market housing to assist viability.
  • Supporting SME housebuilders – deferring CIL and potentially reducing contributions
  • Small Sites – Increasing the size of site before affordable housing is required from 10 dwellings to 40 or 50 dwellings
  • Extension of Permission in Principle to Major developments.

White Paper Planning for the Future

Responses to these proposed changes are due on 29th October 2020. The proposed changes include:

  • Simplification of Local Plans placing all land into one of the three categories (but each having the possibility of more detailed annotations):
    • Growth Areas: Areas of new development / redevelopment which would have outline approval (provided compliance with design codes).
    • Renewal areas: Existing built up areas where smaller scale development infill and “gentle densification”.
    • Protected Areas: Areas of environmental or cultural characteristics where more stringent control applies. This would include large areas such as Green Belt AONB but also small areas like residential gardens
  • National Design Codes, Development Management Policies and Conditions.
  • Streamlined Plan Making
    • Stage 1: Call for “Suggestions” of areas to be included in the 3 zones (6 months)
    • Stage 2: Evidence base and drafting of plan (12 months)
    • Stage 3: Consultation and Submission (6 weeks)
    • Stage 4: “Hearing” of comments by inspector (9 months)
    • Stage 5: Adoption (6 weeks)
    • Single test of soundness on “Sustainable Development” with a slimmed down test of deliverability OR self-certification by LPA’s
    • Increased use of digital technology for consultation
    • 30/42 Months to produce new Local Plan
  • Changes to the standard method for calculating the housing requirement by adding Step 3 a revision of the requirement to take account constraints such as green belt and AONB as well as opportunities like previously developed land.
  • No 5-year land supply requirement for housing
  • No Duty to Cooperate
  • Quicker and simpler assessments of environmental impact
  • Reforms to S106 and Community Infrastructure Level (CIL)

John HelyarPlanning White Paper