The last Budget before Brexit was delivered by Chancellor Philip Hammond on the 29th October 2018 and included proposals for several alterations to the planning system. The Chancellor also published Sir Oliver Letwin’s Independent review of build out: final reportwhich included proposals on how to close the significant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned. Alongside the Autumn Budget, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published a consultation Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of the new homeswhich sets out further changes to the planning system and mainly to the town centre uses. The revised Supporting housing delivery through developer contributionsand the Treasury’s interim response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC’s) National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) were also published alongside the budget.
Key Planning Announcements – Budget and additional publications
Large Housing Sites
In his report Former Conservative Cabinet member Sir Oliver Letwin recommended local planning authorities should have the power to designated specific areas – in places with high housing demand – within their local plans as land which can be developed only as single large sites. Councils should also have the power to compulsorily purchase (CPO) this land at prices that reflect the value of those sites once they have planning permission. Letwin, promoting mixture in the type and size of housing, proposed the adoption of a new set of planning rules for future large sites – over 1,500 units – requiring developers to provide a diverse range of homes.
New Permitted Development (PD) rights
The Planning reform consultation proposes crucial changes to the planning system in particular to permitted development rights – promoting the residential use through conversions and extensions – and to use class orders – proposing the creation of a new Class A that would include shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes.
Other key announcements
Increases in land value and infrastructure
In the report Supporting housing delivery through developer contributions, the MHCLG announced that will not allow local authorities to capture increases in land value where this is justified by infrastructure needs. However, it will maintain "existing flexibilities" in the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations that, through the use of differential levy rates, will allow local authorities "to go some way towards achieving the objective of the proposed reform." The government also confirmed that it will enable combined authorities with strategic planning powers to take forward a “strategic infrastructure tariff”.
Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged an extra £500 millionto the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) in order to unlock up to 650,000 new homes. The pledge included 18,000 new homes in East London through improvements to the Docklands Light Railway.
In addition, Ministers are expected to publish a “comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy” setting out the government’s priorities for economic infrastructure next year.
Support for parish councils
Another funding grant of £8.5 million will also be made available to up to 500 parishes to support them allocate land and grant permission for homes for sale to local people at a discount.
Oxford - Cambridge growth corridor
Finally, the government announced that it will “explore options for delivering a pan-arc spatial vision (...) to co-ordinate investment in housing, infrastructure and the environment to support delivery of transformational growth across the Cambridge – Milton Keynes - Oxford arc.” Read Andrew Lainton's excellent blog for more commentary.
Article prepared by Michaela Kekeri.