Law Commission propose new Welsh planning code could speed up house building

The Law Commission has proposed the introduction of a new planning code in Wales to encourage home building and further protect the environment.

Describing the current system as complex with rules infringing on one another, the independent law reform agency has proposed a number of ways in which to improve the law, following over two years’ intensive research.

The Commission states that this could drastically improve the existing structure, which they feel is difficult for applicants to navigate and is delaying the development process as a result.

In a bid to improve the system for both legal professionals and the public, the Commission has proposed reshaping the planning system in their consultation launched this week.

Containing a wide range of suggested changes, some the consultation’s recommendations include:

  • Bringing the 30 different Acts of Parliament into one, aiming to simplify the current system
  • Making it easier to find out if consent or permission is required
  • Making the importance of a development plan more clear
  • Simplifying the process of obtaining permission
  • Making it simpler to amend an existing permission
  • Repealing obsolete legislation
  • Avoiding systems of control which overlap

Highlighting the need to improve the existing system was Nicholas Paines QC. The Law Commissioner stated: “It’s clear we need to build more homes in Wales, and the law is not helping.

“It has grown up over many decades and even experienced professionals struggle to find a way through the jungle of Acts, rules and regulations.  This leads to delay, mistakes and frustration.

“Wales needs a new Planning Code – to bring the law into one place, sweep away bureaucratic procedures, and save money for councils.  And at the same time provide lasting protection for Wales’s historic buildings and unique environment.”

The consultation can be accessed here.

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