Boris Johnson aims for massive upheaval in UK planning system

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The Johnson government will bring forward proposals this week for the biggest overhaul of Britain’s planning system in decades in an effort to speed up construction of homes and infrastructure.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick will launch a consultation on new plans that will direct local councils to designate land as “growth,” “renewal” or “protection” in a bid to boost construction and address the severe shortage of land. UK housing.

“We’re introducing a simpler, faster, people-centered system to deliver the homes and places we need,” Jenrick said in a Sunday Telegraph article. “Our reforms are aimed at a more diverse and competitive housing sector, where small builders can thrive alongside the big players and where planning permissions are turned into homes faster than they are today.”

Central to the goals of Boris Johnson’s government is reforming UK planning laws. The Prime Minister used the slogan “build, build, build” to describe his strategy to overhaul the economy after the coronavirus lockdown. Downing Street believes that a liberalized system is vital to unleash growth, especially outside the big cities.

Mr Jenrick’s reforms aim to speed up and simplify the existing system, which dates back to legislation passed in 1947. Mr Jenrick said his plans would replace the “outdated and cumbersome planning system” to provide more housing.

According to the plans, lands designated as “growth” by local councils will automatically grant permission for new developments. The “renewal” zones will receive “permission in principle” to balance speed with necessary controls. Areas with “protection” status, including the Greenbelt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will not benefit from any automatic building rights.

Mr Jenrick said the new process would be “completely democratic” and ensure the rapid development of infrastructure – such as schools and doctor’s offices – to support more homes. Development notices will also be moved online, instead of paper pinned to nearby lampposts.

The reformed system “places greater emphasis on quality and design,” the government said, and would draw inspiration from the design codes and model books behind construction in the city of Bath, London’s Belgravia district and Bournville, a model village near Birmingham built by the Cadbury family.

The new system will include a “model design code” that follows the findings of last year’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission to ensure a minimum standard is met. But critics of the new system have warned that the liberalization process could lead to rapid construction, with many properties potentially not meeting these high standards.

Brian Berry, Managing Director of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “New measures that make the planning system faster and more affordable are welcome, but it is vital that high standards of design and construction are not met. compromised as a result, and that any revisions not be “Not in fact adding new delays”.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ housing critic, also criticized the government for not investing in social housing. “Rather than tinkering with town planning laws, what Robert Jenrick should do is unveil a vast program to build social housing for rent,” he said. “We have already lost thousands of social housing units as a result of the development changes authorized by the government to date.

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