Accelerated planning document upgraded to white paper, says Jenrick

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has revealed that the forthcoming Accelerated Planning Green Paper has been upgraded to a white paper and promised that the document would deliver "radical reform" of the planning system.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick: minister revealed upgrading of planning green paper to white paper
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick: minister revealed upgrading of planning green paper to white paper

In a speech at think tank Policy Exchange on Wednesday, Jenrick said: "We are going to be bringing forward a white paper on planning reforms. We’ll have to see what happens in the coming weeks to be able to say when we’ll be publishing that."

It is the first time the government has referred to the forthcoming document as a more formal white paper, rather than a green paper.

In his speech, Jenrick said he hoped the paper would deliver "a number of changes" to help overhaul a planning system which he described as "broken". 

"We have inherited an incredibly complex and convoluted planning system which is a product of the last 75 years of our national life," he said. "That does need radical reform."

The government announced in the Spring Statement earlier this year that it would publish a green paper to consider how "greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvement" could achieve faster decision-making in the planning system. 

But a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) today confirmed that the document had been upgraded to a white paper.

They did not confirm when the white paper would be published. However, earlier this month the MHCLG said the paper would be published next month in November.

The UK parliament website describes green papers as consultation documents produced by the government, whereas it describes white papers as "policy documents produced by the government which set out their proposals for future legislation".

Jenrick said he wanted the white paper to be "a very significant step forward".

Reiterating comments made at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, he said he wanted the planning system to work better for three groups - consumers of the planning system, small builders and large developers.

Also in the same speech, the housing secretary said the government's target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s "may not be ambitious enough" and has suggested that he will support the "renovation and refurbishment" of existing buildings through the planning system.

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