Michael Burton 08 June 2020

Council planning powers under threat

Planning powers could be shifted from local authorities to development corporations as part of an economic stimulus package to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this month.

A panel of experts has been put together by communities secretary Robert Jenrick to advise on changing planning laws that will create a zonal system, transferring powers to development corporations and speeding up permission for infrastructure building, according to reports.

Under the proposals, each council area would be divided up into different neighbourhoods, in which some uses would be permitted and others forbidden.

Once a local authority was satisfied that a proposed development complied with its zoning rules it would then be given the go-ahead.

The aim is to reduce the number of planning applications.

Ministers also want to ease Sunday trading laws and allow outdoor weddings while Mr Jenrick is reviewing planning rules to speed up permission for pubs and restaurants to put more tables on pavements and other outdoor areas.

As the lockdown eases, business secretary Alok Sharma has created five groups to speed up recovery covering innovation, green technology, start-ups, skills and inward investment.

The Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to produce its long-term outlook for the public finances next month while the Spending Review and Budget are earmarked for late autumn.

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