Biggest shake-up in planning reform for 70 years

Today’s Queen’s Speech is expected to include a Planning Bill set to be the biggest shake up of the planning system in 70 years.

As reported in The Times the Conservative Government, buoyed by the success of the local elections last week, will seek to “level-up” home ownership with a focus on the areas in which the Conservatives have made significant gains in recent years.  The Planning Bill will propose the simplification of the planning process and make it more difficult to block new housing schemes.  It is understood that the mechanics of the Bill will propose splitting up the country into “Growth” and “Protection” zones, with overnight speculation ahead of the Queen’s Speech as to whether the potential third zone “Renewal” will survive from the White Paper into the Bill itself.

Under the plans homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will get automatic planning approval in Growth areas. Development will be restricted in protected areas, but not ruled out. Currently there are two points at which objections to development can be raised; firstly, when the local plan is drawn up and secondly, again, when an individual application is put in.  The proposals will remove or significantly reduce the second stage, in Growth areas.  The process in Protected Zones is likely to be remain similar to the current system of planning applications with the focus of de-regulation in Growth Zones.

Starter Homes have now been fully dropped in favour of First Homes; a proposed scheme for first time buyers, key workers and veterans of the armed forces and a trial is expected later this year in Derbyshire with first time buyer discounts of at least 30% will be available.

Stuart Tym, a Planning Lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, comments;

“the success (or failure) of First Homes will only be seen in a generation to come when those buying First Homes try to move on. For a first time buyer buying a discounted 2 bedroom home, it may become even harder to upsize as their family grows, when they discover that in reality they only ever owned 70% of the First Home as the discount needs to be passed on to future purchasers.

“We also wait to see whether a threatened “use it or lose it” tax, adopted from the Labour manifesto, will actually see the cost of new homes soar if a developers slow build rate is burdened financially in this way.”

The Queen’s speech is expected to take place between 11am and 12.30pm in Parliament.

1 Comment

  • test

    I can understand why Derbyshire was chosen for the trial for First Homes. However surely it would make more sense to help those key workers in inflated property markets such as London, where there is a greater disparity between wages and the price of a property. I’m not sure many key workers can wait for the full roll out of the scheme before they have to move out of London.

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