Heather Jameson 08 May 2022

New Bill to put beauty at the heart of planning, says Gove

New Bill to put beauty at the heart of planning, says Gove image
Image: Chatham House / flickr.com

The Queen’s Speech is set to include a new bill to revamp planning and kick start housebuilding, levelling up secretary Michael Gove has revealed.

It is set to give the public more say in the aesthetics of local developments – and will give the secretary of state more powers to call in planning applications on design grounds.

Councils will get new powers to force shop landlords to rent out properties that lie vacant for too long, blighting the high street. And strict targets for the number of homes built are likely to be downplayed in favour of quality developments.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, Mr Gove outlined his plans for a Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, designed to win over local objections to housing plans.

It comes after the Government dumped previous secretary of state Robert Jenrick’s Planning Bill after a back-bench rebellion.   

Mr Gove’s plan will attempt to overcome local resistance to house-building, creating developments that abide by a five-point checklist for beauty; infrastructure; democracy; environment; and neighbourhood.

Under the legislation, residents will have a say in setting rules for developers including the design of the properties.

He told the Telegraph: ‘We will make sure that through local democratic ballots, sometimes street by street, we can have the enhancement that we need to see the additional homes being built.’

Plans to charge residents full council tax on second homes are also thought to be part of the Queen's Speech and the Government increasingly grapples with the cost of living crisis. 

The Government has already mooted plans to increase Right to Buy to cover housing association properties in a bid to boost home ownership. Speaking in the weekend paper, Mr Gove said he was keen to  ‘shrink the private rented sector and get more people owning their own home’.

When asked about business rates, Mr Gove told the Telegraph: ‘We've got all sorts of plans for business rates but I can't say anything because Rishi [Sunak] is in charge.’

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Banning urban pesticide use

RSPB and PAN are working on a letter from local councillors calling on the Government to introduce a national ban on urban pesticide use. Find out more below.
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