Autumn Statement: government plans small sites push

The government intends to explore whether more can be done to 'support the approval of small sites in the planning system', chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement has revealed.

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

The Autumn Statement document said the government will work "with industry and local authorities to test whether more can be done to support the approval of small sites in the planning system".

The document also said the government would be "publishing new data on local authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within 8 weeks".

In his speech Osborne reaffirmed the government’s intention to build in a "Northern Powerhouse".

He said that, as part of this, the government would "commit to a massive, quarter of a billion investment in a new Sir Henry Royce Institute for advanced material science in Manchester, with branches in Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield".

He also hailed moves to allow greater devolution of power to northern cities.

He said: "We’ve delivered in Manchester and my door is open to other cities who want to follow their cross-party lead".

The document also confirmed measures, unveiled in yesterday’s National Infrastructure Plan 2014, that the government will:

  • Take forward measures to "ensure that the principle of development need only be established once".

  • Take steps to speed up section 106 negotiations, "to reduce delays to the planning process".

  • Keep the speed of major decisions under review, "with minimum performance thresholds increasing to 50 per cent of major decisions made on time as performance improves".

  • Publish new data on local authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within 8 weeks.

  • Publish proposals for consultation at Budget 2015 "to make processes clearer, faster and fairer, with the aim of bringing forward more brownfield land for development".

  • Lay the National Networks National Policy Statement before Parliament in December 2014.


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