What will be in the Planning White Paper: the government's latest statement

The forthcoming Planning White Paper will include measures to "expand the use of zoning tools" in the planning system, changes to planning fees, and new rules allowing "automatic rebates where planning applications are successful at appeal", it has been revealed.

MHCLG: Department to publish Planing White Paper later in the spring
MHCLG: Department to publish Planing White Paper later in the spring

A document published alongside a ministerial statement by housing secretary Robert Jenrick today said the government’s Planning White Paper, due to be published later in the spring, "will propose measures to accelerate planning".

The document said the paper will "expand the use of zoning tools to support development".

It said the government "will outline further support for local areas to simplify the process of granting planning permission for residential and commercial development through zoning tools, such as local development orders (LDOs)".

It also said the government "will trial the use of templates for drafting LDOs and other zonal tools to create simpler models and financial incentives to support more effective use".

The document also revealed that the white paper will:

  • change the planning fees system "to create a world-class planning service–we will introduce a new planning fee structure to ensure that planning authorities are properly resourced to improve the speed and quality of their decisions. This will be linked to a new performance framework to ensure performance improvements across the planning service for all users";
  • include measures allowing "automatic rebates where planning applications are successful at appeal – to promote proper consideration of applications by planning committees, where applications are refused applicants will be entitled to an automatic rebate of their planning application fee if they are successful at appeal.";
  • explore "wider options to encourage planning permissions to be built out more quickly";
  • improve "the effectiveness, take-up and role of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) to help facilitate land assembly and infrastructure delivery". It said the government will "introduce further support and expertise to local authorities to give greater confidence in using CPO powers and will consult on legislative reforms to speed up the decision-making process";
  • measures to "maximise the potential of new technologies to modernise the system" and "make it easier for communities to understand the planning system and play a role in decisions that affect them."

It also said that, as part of the white paper, the government "intends to consult on: introducing statutory timescales for decisions; ending the automatic right to public inquiry; encouraging early agreements on compensations; and exploring the scope to remit more decisions back to LAs; as well as wider reform."

The paper "will reflect international best practice, create more space for innovation and new approaches and ensure that planning reflects our aspirations to level up across the country", the document said.

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