Labour’s Upcoming Planning Reforms

It’s all change in the planning world as Labour is preparing to announce changes to planning regulations as early as next week.

The timing and the extent of the changes is still unclear, but given the centrality of planning reform to the delivery of the Labour Manifesto we’re likely to see a good deal of change in the next couple of months, quite possibly even in the next couple of weeks. It’s likely that local authorities will be required to reinstate binding targets for annual housebuilding and to allocate additional land for these future new homes. As part of this, and perhaps most controversially, the changes could reverse the presumption that the green belt cannot be used for housing. 

“These changes are going to be welcomed by many particularly by those who are desperate for affordable housing, but hard pressed local planning authorities are going to be under even more pressure to find land to which there is little or no local opposition”

Allen Creedy, EP Director

Local development plans are suddenly going to be out of date because they won’t include the allocated land to deliver the new targets. Because these plans are the basis for local authorities deciding planning applications then there’s likely to be great uncertainty and delays until additional land is allocated.

House builders are likely to put in planning applications speculatively in the hope that with this uncertainty their applications will be given favourable response. Labour’s challenge is to overcome this policy uncertainty, not upset local authorities and at the same time make sure that local views and opinions are not ignored.

It’s a delicate balance between speeding up planning process and getting houses built without unduly upsetting the local electorate, many of whom may have just voted Labour!  

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