Today we’ve published Planning for the Future – the most significant reforms to planning policy in decades, overhauling the country’s 70-year-old planning system to deliver the homes we need.
Some have suggested this would reduce the quality of new homes being delivered, or not deliver enough affordable housing. These claims are completely untrue. In fact, the new system is entirely designed to increase the quality of new homes and to deliver more affordable housing, quickly.
Firstly, design: we’re prioritising high-quality design for all new homes. For the first time every area identified for significant development will have its own mandatory design code, prepared by the local community and reflecting local character and preference – these will set clear quality standards which development will need to comply with. And all new buildings will continue to be subject to our stringent building standards.
Developments will only be fast-tracked if they are high quality. Where we are providing developers with the flexibility to extend buildings upwards, or to demolish and rebuild them, today’s consultation also proposes laws to ensure that any development which uses these rights meets stringent design standards.
Where we are providing developers with the flexibility to extend buildings upwards, or to demolish and rebuild them, today’s consultation also proposes laws to ensure developers using these rights take design codes into account.
Our valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land, and all new streets to be tree lined.
Decisions on the Green Belt will stay with councils, so we can continue to protect and enhance these important areas for generations to come.
Currently, only around 1% of people engage in the creation of their council’s local plans for development. Our new system encourages councils and other local leaders to actively work with their communities – including by using the latest digital technology – in making local plans, including the new local design codes.
This means local people will have a greater say than ever in the style of new houses that developers propose in the first place.
Secondly, affordability: our proposals will ensure developers deliver at least as much – if not more – affordable housing.
We want to replace the current system of developers’ payments towards affordable housing. The current system is uncertain and opaque as the payments are subject to negotiation between councils and developers. This creates uncertainty for communities about how much affordable housing and infrastructure will accompany a development – which in turn means cost, delay and inconsistency. It also favours big developers that have the resources to negotiate successfully.
Instead, we’ll introduce a simple national infrastructure levy. This new levy will raise more revenue than under the current system, ensuring at least as much affordable housing - any suggestion that it won’t is simply untrue.
Our Planning for the Future consultation is open to your comments for the next 12 weeks. We encourage everyone to contribute their views to it.