Malthouse: Build-out penalties could form part of Accelerated Planning Green Paper

Measures to encourage developers to build-out extant planning permissions more quickly, including potential higher Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) rates for schemes delivered "late", could form "part of the mix" of the government's Accelerated Planning Green Paper, the housing minister has suggested.

Kit Malthouse speaking at the National Planning Summit this morning
Kit Malthouse speaking at the National Planning Summit this morning

Speaking this morning at the National Planning Summit, organised by Planning, housing and planning minister Kit Malthouse said that, in discussions about the green paper, councils had demonstrated an "appetite" to "be ambitious" and to "do things more quickly".

But he added that, in return, they have argued for "an equal obligation on the development community".

"One of the things they say strongly to me is that when they give planning permission, there is an implied contract there that this thing will get built as quickly as possible and there are a number of suggestions about how that could be encouraged rather than compelled. Some of that is about positive financial incentives, some of that is about imaginative use of powers in the NPPF", the minister said.

Malthouse said that one of the suggestions made to him was to say that "maybe we should say to developers that there is a discount on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) if they complete the thing early and if it’s completed late there’s a premium on the CIL, so there’s a positive financial incentive to get the thing done. Things like that that provide a balance of incentive versus penalty may be part of the mix."

Elsewhere, the minister said there was a "a hell of a lot" of planning announcements for his department to publish before summer recess.

"I would hope to have all the National Planning Policy Framework guidance done completely before the recess so that everyone has some clarity", he said.

Malthouse added that there would also be announcements on environmental standards, biodiversity, and "different typology of housing". The government’s social housing green paper would also be issued before summer recess, he went on to say.

The minister also used the speech to call for planners to be one again placed "at the top table" at local authorities.

He said that planning has a key role in delivering "the health and wellbeing and welfare and growth prospects and basically the general success of your area".

Malthouse went on to say that revitalising high streets would be "one of the challenges for planners over the next few years".

"The only way we will keep vibrant living centres in towns is by planning it again; thinking more widely and more laterally about what our town centres are for and how we keep them alive and how we make them destinations."

Talking about Andover in his Hampshire constituency, Malthouse said the town centre there was "struggling".

He said: "Andover’s high street is struggling for a variety of factors, but largely it is struggling due to planning decisions taken in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

"We built a mini-Arndale centre back in the 70s, at the same time threw a ring road around the town centre, then decided to move residents out of the town centre, and then in the 80s and 90s allowed out-of-town shopping. Now the internet is putting a knife to the whole thing."

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