Details of the Planning Bill from the Queens Speech Notes

UK Gov

Planning Bill
“Laws to modernise the planning system, so that more homes can be built, will be
brought forward…”

The purpose of the Bill is to:
● Create a simpler, faster and more modern planning system to replace the current
one that dates back to 1947, and ensuring we no longer remain tied to
procedures designed for the last century.
● Ensure homes and infrastructure – like schools and hospitals – can be delivered
more quickly across England.
● Transform our planning system from a slow document-based one to a more
efficient and easier to use digital and map-based service, allowing more active
public engagement in the development of their local area.
● Help deliver vital infrastructure whilst helping to protect and enhance the
environment by introducing quicker, simpler frameworks for funding infrastructure
and assessing environmental impacts and opportunities.

The main benefits of the Bill would be:
● Providing more certainty for communities and developers, particularly smaller
developers, about what is permitted where, through clear land allocations in local
plans and stronger rules on design.
● Simpler, faster procedures for producing local development plans, approving
major schemes, assessing environmental impacts and negotiating affordable
housing and infrastructure contributions from development.
● Establishing a framework which focuses on positive outcomes, such as
environmental opportunities and better designed places.
● Digitising a system to make it more visual and easier for local people to
meaningfully engage with.

The main elements of the Bill are:
● Changing local plans so that they provide more certainty over the type, scale and
design of development permitted on different categories of land.
● Significantly decrease the time it takes for developments to go through the
planning system.
● Replacing the existing systems for funding affordable housing and infrastructure
from development with a new more predictable and more transparent levy.
● Using post-Brexit freedoms to simplify and enhance the framework for
environmental assessments for developments.
● Reforming the framework for locally led development corporations to ensure local
areas have access to appropriate delivery vehicles to support growth and

Territorial extent and application
● The Bill will extend to the whole of the UK, however the majority of provisions will
apply to England.
Key facts
● There is very little meaningful public engagement in the current planning system.
At present only around 3 per cent of local people engage with planning
applications, and for local plan consultations engagement can fall to less than 1
per cent.
● As of February 2021, only around 41 per cent of Local Authorities have an up-todate local plan in place.
● Updating a local plan currently takes an average of 7 years.
● Thirty years ago smaller builders were responsible for around 40 per cent of new
homes built, but currently this figure is only 12 per cent.
● The current system does not lead to enough homes being built, especially in
those places where the need for new homes is the highest. Adopted Local Plans,
where they are in place, provide for 192,725 homes per year across England (as
of March 2021) – significantly below our ambition for 300,000 new homes
annually. As a result of this long-term and persistent undersupply, housing is
becoming increasingly expensive.

There is a subtle change of wording here, to refer to ‘changing local plans’ rather than the rip it up and start all over again tome of the foreword to the white paper. No mention of removing the DTC.

The Blue Wall and Planning Reform

Very interesting article by Henry Hill in CONHOME today.

As the party focuses on broadening its appeal to a new coalition of voters, it risks alienating parts of its traditional base.

This is the basis for what some are starting to call the ‘Blue Wall’: more than 40 constituencies “which have been held by the Conservatives since at least 2010, where Labour or the Liberal Democrats have overperformed their national swing in 2017 and 2019 and where the Conservative majority is below 10,000”, as Matthew Goodwin explains. If CCHQ isn’t careful, these could follow those London seats where the party was competitive, or even won, in 2010 but is deep underwater now….

Some results from the weekend, such as the Conservatives’ loss of control in Cambridgeshire, are already being held up as examples of this trend, which as our Editor reported yesterday were described by one pollster as “big red flashes which under someone better than Starmer could cause chaos”….

Down the line, this would have implications for general elections if London overspill and sky-high house prices see more seats follow Brighton and Canterbury into the Labour column – a prospect which is reportedly already concerning Tory MPs.

But will it be enough to spook those MPs into doing what’s necessary to fix it? The Government is right to believe that its hold on the ‘Red Wall’ rests on expanding home ownership. But it has so far failed to overcome the self-interest of southern MPs and get them accept the blunt fact that the same thing is true of the ‘Blue Wall’ too. Somehow, ministers need to get sufficient houses built to put home ownership and family formation within reach of young professionals.

There is little doubt that home ownership and political allegiances are closely correlated. Higher home ownership rates east of the Pennines seem to explain much of the difference in conservative support to west and this factor seems to become more and more important as family allegiances based on traditional industrial jobs become more and more historic.

In London we see a churn as people move to ROSE pushing house prices up and locals pushed into renting, with only minor changes to the overall dwelling stock.

This explanation helps explain underlying allegiences, however at the very local level we get the ‘homevoter’ phenomenon, people don’t vote to push down house prices. So for example in Kent as a whole high prices weaken traditional conservative allegiances but if you live next to a proposed new settlement you are more likely to vote the party proposing it down.

Also the very fractured nature of the political left leaves a complex patchwork of who the opposition is, Green, LibDem, independent or Labour depending where you live. Also voters might share increasing environmental concerns but not necessarily share the ‘degrowth’ ‘stop build build build’ agenda of many of the localised indpendent/coalition avocado NIMBY set whose agendas are rarely progressive.

Class still matters, but the source class is now different as rent becomes increasingly important as a factor income as land allocated for development become more scarce.