Industry Experts Insist On Planning System Improvements

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) along with local authorities have been handed a number of proposals to improve the planning sector. 

The British Property Federation (BPF) published its Accelerated Planning Manifesto, urging governmental officials to provide greater support and guidance to stakeholders in the early stages of the construction process. 

With per person spending in the planning system falling by 55% since 2010, the BPF believe political parties should have prioritised planning alongside the housing promises as building the additional new homes will be difficult unless improvements are made to the current system.   

The manifesto provides key perspectives from industry stakeholders on the way to make the planning process more efficient. 

It also highlights neglected areas of the current system which would benefit from central government attention. 

The BPF claim the reforms will create a more transparent and better funded planning system. The key proposals include: 

  • The government should do more to ensure that Local Plans are updated and aim for all local authorities to have an up-to-date plan by 2021
  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government should publish good practice guidance for the use of Planning Performance Agreements
  • Greater thought should be given to creating more structured and consistent engagement prior to committee determination. This would help to resolve concerns and issues relating to a planning application before a formal planning committee meeting
  • A greater use of Local Development Orders to help free up local planning officers’ time to deal with more complex schemes
  • The Government should encourage Local Planning Authorities to publish model Section 106 clauses and model conditions to assist their planning officers in dealing with applications in an efficient and consistent manner. 

Melanie Leech CBE, Chief Executive of the BPF, said: 

“The English planning system never stands still, and the recommendations put forward to government in this manifesto are a reflection that there are many opportunities to make the existing plan-led system work better. These improvements will be important if we are to accelerate delivery of the homes and development that the country needs. 

“There is no single solution for creating an accelerated planning system, but resourcing must be a priority for the next government going forward. Together with more investment from the private sector, a future government must commit to better funding local government to ensure it can deliver more effective planning outcomes for all who interact with the process.” 

What improvements do you think should be made to the planning system? 

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