Since the Coalition Agreement, major reforms to the planning system have taken place with the introduction of the Localism Act 2011 and the National Planning Policy Framework.
The Government has stressed that the planning system should work proactively to support economic growth and it is still concerned that various aspects of the planning system are burdened by “unnecessary bureaucracy that can hinder sustainable growth.” A number of reforms were made in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 aimed at speeding up the planning system.
A number of other announcements on planning reform have also been made, which do not have provisions in the Act, including:
• to reform and revise the planning guidance which had not been cancelled by the National Planning Policy Framework;
• to increase existing permitted development rights to allow shops and existing agricultural buildings to be converted into homes; and
• to make reforms to the operation of the community infrastructure levy.
The Government’s National Infrastructure Plan 2013 has also announced a number of planning reforms, including:
• reviewing the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning Regime;
• consulting on introducing a statutory requirement to have a local plan in place;
• addressing delays associated with the discharge of planning conditions; and
• reducing the number of applications where statutory consultation is required.
This note sets out more information about the key planning reform announcements and the proposals. Most of the proposals apply to England only.
For further information about proposals to stimulate housing supply see Library standard note, Stimulating housing supply.