Planning White Paper 'could see developers facing more onerous design standards and build-out charges'

An article suggesting that the impending Planning White Paper could "enforce more onerous design standards on developers" and allow councils to charge applicants that fail to build quickly enough features in today's newspaper round-up.

An article in The Times (subscription only) asks whether changes to the planning system would "undermine" volume housebuilders. The Planning White Paper "is expected in weeks" and "could enforce more onerous design standards on developers that they will not be able to wriggle out of in planning viability negotiations". If higher design standards are specified upfront, the newspaper says, the policy's proponents argue that "builders would stop overpaying for land, which incentivises them to scrimp on quality and engage in protracted and secretive negotiations with local authorities to reduce affordable housing and local infrastructure contributions". However, "being forced to provide a greater variety of designs could weigh on the margins of volume housebuilders", the article says, while "their large landbanks could also be under threat as the government is understood to be considering a plot levy that would allow local authorities to charge developers a fee if they fail to build quickly enough". 

An article in the Guardian claims that 11,410 new homes are "planned for land at the highest risk of flooding in regions battered by the worst winter storms in a generation". In Shropshire, it says, "where a major incident was declared and residents were evacuated during Storm Dennis, 764 homes are due to go up in areas of high flood risk". Meanwhile, in Doncaster, "nearly 4,000 homes are proposed for flood zones". Councils in the article blame central government housing targets and a "dearth of available land".

The Daily Telegraph reports that MPs are "urging Boris Johnson not to 'wobble' on Heathrow's third runway, amid fears he could use a legal challenge to shelve the project". Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, and other opponents of the plan "are expected to learn on Thursday whether their High Court case to stop the expansion has been successful", it says. While some sources say Johnson would be "unlikely to appeal" such a verdict, one MP says the government "must not wobble" on the issue.

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