Thomas Bridge 10 July 2015

Sweeping planning reforms must keep councils ‘central’ to process, warns LGA

Sweeping planning reforms must keep councils ‘central’ to process, warns LGA image

Councils have warned communities risk being taken out of the planning process under new Treasury proposals designed to speed up house building.

Chancellor George Osborne today put house building at the centre of efforts to ‘raise productivity’, announcing measures that could sidestep local authorities in a bid to speed up delivery.

Proposals would see automatic planning permission granted in principle for developments on brownfield land under a new ‘zonal system’ for England designed to ‘reduce unnecessary delay and uncertainty’.

Councils that make 50% or fewer of their planning decisions on time would also be at risk of penalties or intervention from communities secretary Greg Clark to speed up production of local plans.

New league tables ranking local authority progress on delivery of homes and jobs are set for introduction.

Further measures would see buildings in London freed from requiring planning permission for upwards extensions up to the height of adjoining buildings.

However concerns were raised by the British Property Foundation that while many of the measures ‘hit the nail on the head’, the ‘severe shortage’ of local authority funds could hamper potential reforms.

The Local Government Association (LGA) also warned it was important that planning controls ‘remain proportionate’ and local communities ‘continue to have a say’.

Following the launch of the plans, Greg Clark said: ‘The top-down targets of the past planning system did nothing to deliver the homes our country needs. In contrast, putting local people in control has led to record numbers of homes being granted permission and support for housebuilding to grow.

‘Today’s proposals ensure we go further and faster, removing the barriers so we can keep the country building and support hard-working people to achieve their dream of home ownership.’

Cllr Mike Jones, LGA housing spokesman, said: ‘Councils want to see brownfield sites developed and many of these new measures will help with that, such as stronger compulsory purchase order powers to help councils take on sites stuck in the system.

‘Councils and their planning committees are rightly central to that locally accountable democratic process, allowing local people to have an influence over the changing shape of their neighbourhoods.

‘The fact is, planning is not what’s holding up development - it’s the cost of remediation and infrastructure.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Adults Social Workers - Harlow

Essex County Council
£32065 - £43839 per annum
Working to support adults and their families who have complex social needs and are more vulnerable as a result of disability, exclusion, or diminished England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Digital Tutor

Essex County Council
£25801 - £26801 per annum
I.T and Digital Tutor Permanent, Part Time Up to £26,801 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Independent Chairs for the Integrated Care Systems for England

NHS England
£55,000 - £80,000 depending on population size and complexity
Do you have the experience to re-shape the health and care landscape in England? England
Recuriter: NHS England

Head of Governance & Partnerships

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
£63,742 - £70,115 per annum
Acting as our Head of Democratic Services, you will ensure that the Council’s statutory functions are achieved to a high standard. Blaenau Gwent
Recuriter: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Consultant – Low carbon transport specialist

Energy Saving Trust
Up to £37,000 per annum, depending on experience
We are looking for an experienced individual, passionate about decarbonising transport and improving air quality. Homeworking
Recuriter: Energy Saving Trust

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue