Government announces new Bill to ‘speed up’ the planning process

Government announces new Bill to ‘speed up’ the planning process

The government has announced its ‘Neighbourhood Planning Bill’ designed to speed-up and strengthen the neighbourhood planning process.

Measures in the new Neighbourhood Planning Bill are intended to support more housebuilding and provide more local say over developments, the Housing and Planning Minister has announced.

The Bill is designed to help ‘speed up and strengthen’ the neighbourhood planning process by simplifying how plans can be revised as local circumstances change. It also aims to ensure that plans come into force sooner once approved by local people.

Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we need to build more homes and this Bill is the first of a number of measures to deliver on that. We have already built more than 900,000 homes since 2010 and now this Bill will help speed up delivery of the further new homes our country needs and ensure our foot is still firmly on the pedal. We’re also going further than ever before to speed up neighbourhood planning which puts power in the hands of local people to decide where development gets built.”

Other measures in the bill look to simplify the compulsory purchase order process, ‘to make it clearer, fairer and faster.’

Further Bill measures look to ensure that planning conditions which require developers to take action before work starts are only used where strictly necessary, but in a way that ensures important heritage and environmental safeguards remain in place

The Bill, initially announced in the Queen’s Speech in May and previously titled the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, was introduced into Parliament on the 7th September.

The British Property Federation has welcomed the introduction of the new Bill. Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “It is great to see this Bill introduced to Parliament so soon after recess, and to see government prioritising measures that will bring forward more development. The measures to improve the CPO system are particularly important as they will help to bring about infrastructure projects more quickly and efficiently, which are crucial for attracting inward investment and acting as a catalyst for regeneration schemes.”

However, the House Builders Association (HBA) believes that the Neighbourhood Planning Bill is unlikely to meaningfully increase the supply of homes or appropriately empower local people.

Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the HBA, said: “Infrastructure and development cannot be treated as separate issues, especially when communities believe that the lack of appropriate infrastructure is the reason to block developments. Neighbourhood plans should provide for more homes that local communities can accept, they should never be used as a blunt tool to stop building the homes we need.”

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