Planning White Paper out 'soon' and will propose new application fee structure, says Pincher

The "bold" and "creative" Planning White Paper will be published "soon" and will include proposals for a "sensible" and "transparent" application fee structure, the housing minister Christopher Pincher promised today.

Housing and planning minister Christopher Pincher. Pic:
Housing and planning minister Christopher Pincher. Pic:

Pincher was speaking this morning at Planning's National Planning Summit which this year is being held as an online event.

He said that March's Planning for the Future document "provides a basis" for the white paper but he added that the government also wanted to add in aspects of the Building Better Building Beautiful report.

He said the coronavirus "has had a massive effect on the way that we do business generally and the way that we are doing planning right now, so we want to make sure that we are looking at the tools that we have developed with you to combat [the pandemic] to see how they fit and whether than can be improved or tweaked".

Pincher also said that the white paper would "look at a sensible fee structure which will make fees more transparent and [make sure] that planners and local authorities can do the jobs that they need".

The minister also said:

  • It is "increasingly clear" that innovations brought in due to the pandemic such as online planning appeals and virtual site visits "are here to stay". He said: "If they prove effective, and I think that they are, they will be a very effective way of managing our planning system".
  • The devolution white paper should be published "later this year".
  • The revised standard need methodology will be published in "months rather than weeks".
  • The new national design code is "on track" for publication this year.
  • Neither Pincher nor the housing secretary Robert Jenrick will be involved in re-considering the controversial Westferry Printworks development.

Elsewhere, Pincher said the government currently has "no proposals" on creating a zonal planning system but said he wants to see a more "upfront" process where it is "much more clear what can be done in places".

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