Report recommends expansion of permission in principle

The Housing and Planning Act's 'permission in principle' should be expanded to include a wider range of sites than is currently proposed, a report by free market think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies has recommended.

New homes: report calls for radical action to speed delivery
New homes: report calls for radical action to speed delivery

Housing: Now is the time to Seize the Opportunity says that, without radical action, the government will not achieve its target to build one million new homes by 2020.

The document calls for "planning simplification" to help tackle this, and says that the "complexity of the current planning system makes any significant housing extremely risky".

Among its recommendations, the report says that permission in principle (PIP) should be extended.

The report says that, as it currently stands, PIP "only applies to ‘housing-led’ development on sites allocated in brownfield registers, development plan documents or neighbourhood plans or via applications direct to local authorities on unallocated sites" and, while this is welcomed, it "should be extended to other sites".

The document also recommends that the section 106 system and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) be abolished and "replaced by a single, national development charge of 20 per cent of the sale value of the development".

"This would improve clarity, streamline development and provide a significant sum to local authorities for the provision of support infrastructure", the report says.

The report also calls for the use of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) as a "mechanism by which such a simplified system can be implemented rapidly and effectively".

It says that primary legislation "could enable the SPV to be recognised for the purposes of developing a new community or urban extension at an early stage of any development".

"Combined with streamlining of local planning regulations and a single consenting regime, it would give statutory backing to outline proposals for a development, after full consideration by the various stakeholders in the SPV. The SPV’s special status would be loosely based on the Development Consent Order system for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects", the report says.

Other recommendations in the report include that government should:

  • Insist that a "common methodology is adopted by all local authorities to calculate the strategic housing market need, on a five year basis".
  • Encourage local authorities to review and redraw greenbelt boundaries

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