PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE WHITE PAPER and CHANGES TO THE CURRENT PLANNING SYSTEM: REGENCY SOCIETY RESPONSES
The Regency Society has responded critically to the consultation on the Planning for the Future White Paper.
The paper is heavily weighted towards addressing the housing shortage, particularly of affordable provision, with the emphasis on quantity not quality. The availability of development land is just one of several issues. It contains nothing about restricting Permitted Development Rights to avoid creating the "back-to backs" of the future. It does not of course address the underlying causes of the housing shortage.
The removal of VAT on the refurbishment and conversion of existing buildings would be a more sustainable way to address the housing shortage than just encouraging new development. Pound for pound, work to existing buildings provides more employment than new build does.
The paper is fundamentally flawed in seeking to change decision making from a case-based discretionary system to a rule-based "box-ticking" one. The next step will be making planning decisions by flawed algorithms.
While claiming to empower localism it would in practice centralise the system and neuter local planning authorities. The proposed elimination of District Councils would push this further.
Our response was copied to Civic Voice in time for them to take it into consideration in their response before the consultation closed.
The White Paper (link to White Paper here)
The White Paper is a proposal for future legislation, not to be confused with changes to the current planning system by statutory instruments. These changes are aimed at increasing and accelerating housing provision. They are:
- Introducing the Standard Method for assessing housing numbers, which would produce a 60% increase in the assessment for Brighton and Hove.
- 25% of affordable homes should be for first homes, which would be exempt from the Infrastructure levy.
- Supporting small and medium sized developers by reducing and delaying the Infrastructure Levy.
- Extension of the Permission in Principle consent regime.
We objected to the first and last of these points in our response to the Planning White Paper.
Judicial Review (link to document here)
Rights: Community: Action is crowdfunding a judicial review of the statutory instruments. The Regency Society has contributed £200 and would encourage members to contribute by going to the link above.
Feature image above: Tregunnel Hill, Newquay - thanks to ADAM Architecture/Duchy of Cornwall