Queen’s Speech: ‘What happened to an overhaul of the planning system?’

The bill aims to boost housebuilding, ease controls in England, and give residents more involvement in local development.

However, it is not quite the planning overhaul initially mooted by the government, according to Nick Sanderson, CEO, Audley Group.

He said: “What happened to an overhaul of the planning system? Planning reform which focuses on local residents being able to have more involvement and input is neither radical, nor in any way going to address the fundamental problems that persist within the housing market.

“It should be a given that residents are able to hold local planning teams to account and have a say in how they want their locality to take shape. But yet again the government has missed an opportunity to take the strong action that it needs to in order to solve our housing crisis.”

Sanderson wants a complete overhaul of both the system and how we think about it and central to this is the type of housing that needs to be built.

He continued: “Expanding the housing options available, including those for older people, is an important part of the process. Supporting specialist housing providers with regulatory change, like assigning Integrated Retirement Communities with a standalone planning classification or mandating the provision of housing for older people in local planning land allocation would allow them to get on and do the job of building housing that helps older people live independent, healthy lives in thriving communities, which in turn frees up valuable housing stock elsewhere.  Once again, tricks have been missed.”

Jonathan Rolande, from the National Association of Property Buyers, slammed the government measures announced by Prince Charles as “neither new nor radical”.

He believes that the Queen’s Speech will do little to solve Britain’s housing crisis.

Rolande commented: “I feel disappointed that there seem to be no bold, fresh ideas here – they are simply old policies re-hashed and current systems tinkered with.”

“Of course the devil is in the details, we must wait to see how these policies are brought into force and then assess the effect they may have,” he added.

Market Financial Solutions chief executive, Paresh Raja, accepts that as ever, “the devil will be in the detail”, but stating that ‘the planning system will be reformed’ is a start at least”, in his view.

Raja says that to deliver more housing in the UK “we need to make it easier to build more new homes and, crucially, also convert disused commercial properties into residential ones”.

“Tabling the Planning Bill is a vital first step in hopefully addressing the red tape that prevents the delivery of new homes,” he added.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns for trade body Propertymark, commented: “We are facing a supply crisis and whilst new building must be a sharp focus, an effective planning system must prioritise the delivery of the right types of homes in the right places utilising a careful assessment of housing needs and market demand data.

“To truly level up and maximise a quality supply of housing, we will scrutinise this Bill to ensure known barriers to delivery are removed.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, believes that it is vital there is the necessary framework, support and investment to ensure the planning system, which sits right at the heart of the government’s levelling up ambitions, is fit for this purpose.

She said: “We support the government’s ambition to ensure up to date local plans are in place across the country to provide the framework to stimulate private sector investment.

“The digitisation of the system is long overdue, and we must harness digital platforms to engage ‘the silent majority’, including younger generations, in shaping our towns and cities for the future.”


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