Election 2015: What the manifestos mean for planning

Pledges intended to boost housing supply and promises to amend planning rules were a feature of election manifestos published this week by Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, UKIP and the Green Party.

Parliament: general election is taking place on 7 May
Parliament: general election is taking place on 7 May


The Labour Party’s election manifesto says that the party would make sure that at least 200,000 homes a year get built by 2020. It includes a commitment to build a "new generation" of garden cities and says that a Labour government would give local authorities the power to "give first call to first time buyers of new homes in areas of housing growth".

The manifesto also pledges new powers for councils to require particular types of shops to apply for planning permission, "allowing them to restrict the number of payday lenders or other shops that are clustering on a single high street" and promises new "use it or lose it" powers to encourage developers to build.


The Conservative Party’s election manifesto pledges a £1 billion brownfield regeneration fund and promises to change the law so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications. The manifesto says that a Conservative government would "ensure local people have more control over planning and protect the green belt" and would "support locally-led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester".

The manifesto pledges a brownfield regeneration fund designed to unblock the construction of homes. It says that brownfield land will be used "as much as possible" and local authorities will be required to have "a register of what is available" and ensure that "90 per cent of brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020".

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrat election manifesto promises to "bring to an end the permitted development rights for converting offices to residential" and pledges to "strengthen" the duty to cooperate. It pledges to put local authorities "in the driving seat for plan-led development by requiring them to make a plan for 15 years of housing need, working collaboratively with neighbouring councils where necessary to identify sites".

The manifesto also confirms the party’s intention to create ten new garden cities "in areas where there is local support and homes are needed most, as part of our ambitious plans to build 300,000 homes a year". The document also pledges to create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved local plan, or a local plan that is emerging and has undergone substantive consultation.


UKIP’s election manifesto says that a UKIP government would replace the National Planning Policy Framework and "introduce fresh national planning guidelines that will prioritise brownfield sites for new housing and genuinely protect the green belt".

The document includes a pledge to free local authorities from "government-imposed minimum housing numbers".

It promises to allow large-scale developments to be overturned by a binding local referendum triggered by the signatures of five per cent of electors within a planning authority area, collected within three months.

Green Party

The Green Party’s manifesto says that a Green government would scrap the NPPF "and in particular its presumption in favour of sustainable development", and "put planning back in hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans".

The manifesto pledges to restrict the right of applicants to appeal only where there has been an error in the planning process and to introduce a community right of appeal where a development is non-compliant with a neighbourhood plan or local plan.

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