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.
Outside of this Act a number of other announcements on planning reform have also been made, most recently in the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan 2013, Autumn Statement 2013, Budget 2014, Queen’s Speech 2014, and Infrastructure Bill 2014-15 which together include:
• reforming the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Planning Regime;
• addressing delays associated with the discharge of planning conditions;
• consulting on introducing a statutory requirement to have a local plan in place;
• new support for new garden cities;
• allowing further changes of use to residential use without requiring planning permission; and
• reforming the system of permitted development rights.
This note sets out more information about the key planning reform announcements and an overview the proposals. Most of the proposals apply to England only. For detailed information about the planning reforms in the Infrastructure Bill 2014-15 see Library standard note, Infrastructure Bill: Planning Provisions.
For information about proposals to stimulate housing supply see Library standard note, Stimulating housing supply.