NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY REFORM: SUMMARY AND OPINION

6 July 2023

In December last year (2022), the government proposed a raft of new planning reforms, with the objective of streamlining the planning process whilst making it easier to release more land for housing and to obtain planning permission.

The proposed text of the National Planning Policy Framework revisions was accompanied by an associated consultation report Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (LURB).

It was confirmed in the consultation document that the Government would issue its response by Spring 2023, publishing the framework revisions as part of this, so that policy changes can take effect as soon as possible. 

However, in April of this year, the director general for regeneration at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Emran Mian said the Government did not have a date by which their response to the consultation would be published. Latest information from the DLUHC suggest that the further revisions will be delayed until September 2023.

It is without doubt that there is an acute need for efficiency, certainty, consistency, and stability within the planning system and at present the planning system is seen as unpredictable, unreliable and cumbersome and creating significant delays to positive and progressive economic development.  Positive reforms are therefore needed and welcomed but it is also considered that this needs to be coupled with Government investment into the planning system to assist in the improvement of the process and procedure.

We believe these reforms represent a missed opportunity for the Government to address the current issues in the planning system and it is without doubt that the Government needs to couple the policy reforms with an overhaul of the operation of the planning system to ensure that there is the retention of skilled officers and continuity and reliability in the service. We are aware that many local authority planning staff are disillusioned with the current system and are consequently leaving the service t the detriment of the entire planning system.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has also provided a response to the planning reforms which cautioned that the NPPF would allow government to progress with planning reform at the expense of the homes, infrastructure and regeneration. For a summary of the proposed changes, MEP’s views and those of the RTPI please see below.

A SUMMARY OF THE PROPOSED CHANGES

MEP’S VIEWS

RTPI COMMENTS

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