Updated: 13 things you need to know about the Budget

Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget, published last week, was accompanied by significant announcements on previous policy proposals and set the scene for further reform. Here are 13 key planning proposals that were announced.

Chancellor Philip Hammond
Chancellor Philip Hammond

1) Local authorities should have statutory powers to buy large housing sites at prices of around ten times existing use value rather than the 'huge multiples' that currently apply, the government's adviser on increasing the rate at which planning permissions are built out has said in his final report. Former Tory Cabinet member, Sir Oliver Letwin, recommends that the government should give planning authorities in places with high housing demand the power to designate specific areas within their local plans as land which can be developed only as single large sites. Letwin says ministers should give councils clear statutory powers to buy the land designated for such large sites compulsorily at prices that reflect the value of those sites once they have planning permission. Letwin also recommends that the government should adopt a new set of planning rules for all future large sites (initially defined as those over 1,500 units) in areas of high housing demand, requiring those developing such sites to provide a diversity of homes. More details here.

2) The government has published proposals for a series of new permitted development (PD) rights, including for upward extensions, shop-to-office conversions, and the demolition of commercial buildings to make way for homes. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published a consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes, which sets out a series of fresh proposed changes to the planning system. The document proposes a new national PD right "to allow shops (A1) financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change to office use (B1)". It also proposes to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3). It further seeks views on the creation of a new permitted development right "allowing for the demolition of commercial buildings and redevelopment as residential". In addition, the consultation proposes allowing property owners to use the airspace above existing buildings for new homes and extensions without planning permission. More details here.

3) The government is proposing to remove the PD right allowing the installation of new public phone boxes without planning permission. As part of the Planning Reform consultation document, the government says it wants to scrap a controversial PD right allowing new phone boxes and the associated advertising consent. It says that councils "are seeing an increase in the number of prior approval applications for additional public call boxes in city centres, with a subsequent increase in the number of appeals coming before the Planning Inspectorate". More details here.

4) The government is mooting further changes to the existing use class orders in order to revive town centres. The consultation document says that, "with the rise of internet shopping, and the change in how people use the high street, it is timely to consider how the operation of the Use Classes Order can support greater flexibility". It asks for view on how the A1 use class "could be simplified to ensure that it accommodates new and future business models and modern shopping preferences". The MHCLG also says there "could be scope for a new use class that provides for a mix of uses within the A1, A2 and A3 uses beyond that which is considered to be ancillary, which would support the diversification of high street businesses". The measure "would mean that movement between these uses was no longer development and not a matter for the planning system to consider". More details here.

5) The government is to change the planning gain system in a bid to allow councils to capture a greater share of increased land values for spending on infrastructure and affordable housing. The MHCLG response to a consultation in March on changes to the developer contributions system was published alongside today’s Budget. The government said it will not take forward proposals in the consultation intended to allow local authorities to capture increases in land value where this is justified by infrastructure needs. However, it maintains that there are "existing flexibilities" in the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations that, through the use of differential levy rates, allow local authorities "to go some way towards achieving the objective of the proposed reform". More details here.

6) The government confirmed that it will enable combined authorities with strategic planning powers to take forward a "strategic infrastructure tariff". In the consultation response on developer contribution changes, it states: "In the longer term, the government will bring forward proposals for allowing joint planning committees to charge the tariff and will review options for giving other groups the power to levy a tariff." The response also says the government wants to encourage groups of charging authorities to use existing powers to "more effectively support the delivery of strategic infrastructure through the pooling of their local CIL receipts". More details here.

7) The government signalled that it will move ahead with further reforms to the developer contributions regime. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government response to March’s consultation on changes to the developer contributions system confirms that it will remove restrictions preventing councils using section 106 receipts towards infrastructure itemised on Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) "regulation 123 lists". The document says councils will be required to report CIL and section 106 income and spending through statutory "infrastructure funding statements" and proposes to remove the requirement for councils to subject draft CIL charging schedules to two separate rounds of consultation. More details here.

8) The government has announced that it will "explore options" for a single spatial plan for the Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor. The Treasury yesterday published its response to advisory body the National Infrastructure Commission's (NIC's) report last November on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes–Oxford Arc. In its response, the government said it would "explore options for delivering a pan-arc spatial vision ... to co-ordinate investment in housing, infrastructure and the environment to support delivery of transformational growth across the arc". As a "first step" towards this, it said it would publish an "ambitious, corridor-wide joint vision statement to 2050" with local partners by Spring 2019. It also promised to create "strengthened" and "democratically-accountable" governance arrangements across the area. More details here.

9) The government pledged an extra £500 million to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), claiming that the extra cash will unlock "up to 650,000 new homes". The announcement by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond means the total HIF pot will increase to £5.5 billion. A specific beneficiary of the HIF pot is £291 million of funding to unlock 18,000 new homes in East London through improvements to the Docklands Light Railway. Elsewhere, an extra £20 million of funding is also pledged to the East-West Rail project to improve links between Oxford and Cambridge, "to develop a strategic outline business case for the railway," the budget document says. More details here.

10) Parish councils will be granted powers to allocate land and grant permission for homes for sale to local people at a discount. The Autumn Budget 2018 report says that £8.5 million of "resource support" will be made available by the government to provide up to 500 parishes with resources and support to use their planning powers to bring forward sites for homes sold at a discount. The document also says that planning guidance will be updated to strengthen the role of neighbourhood planning and ensure plans approved by local referendums cannot be overruled by local planning authorities. Mpre details here.

11) Ministers have pledged to publish a "comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy" next year setting out the government's priorities for economic infrastructure next year. The strategy will include a formal "in depth" response to the National Infrastructure Commission's (NIC's) National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), which was published in July. The pledge was made in the Treasury's interim response to the NIA published today alongside the budget. More details here.

12) The government is proposing to activate powers allowing councils to dispose of public land for planning purposes without ministerial consent. A consultation published alongside the Budget proposes policy changes to extend local authorities’ freedoms to sell their land without seeking consent from the secretary of state, "thereby providing greater flexibility to dispose of surplus land in support of local development objectives". More details here.

13) Ministers may sign off compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to help deliver new towns before proposals are fully worked up, the government said. Draft guidance on the use of development corporations’ CPO powers, published alongside the Budget, sets out the factors ministers will take into account in deciding whether to confirm new town CPOs. More details here.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs