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Planning for the future

Objectives of the consultation

This consultation, issued by the Minstry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, proposed reforms of the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process; bring a new focus to design and sustainability; improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure; and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.

The reforms will mean that: 

  • Local communities will be consulted from the very beginning of the planning process. By harnessing the latest technology through online maps and data, the whole system will be made more accessible; 
  • Valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land and all new streets to be tree lined;  
  • Much-needed homes will be built quicker by ensuring local housing plans are developed and agreed in 30 months – down from the current 7 years it often takes; 
  • Every area to have a local plan in place - currently only 50% of local areas have an up-to-date plan to build more homes; 
  • The planning process to be overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules-based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned at appeal; 
  • A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay; 
  • The creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and establishing local design guidance for developers to build and preserve beautiful communities; and
  • All new homes to be 'zero carbon ready'.

This consultation closed on 29 October 2020.

Supporting papers

To download the consultation document follow the link below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE believes that the proposals set out in this consultation could potentially work, but there is much potential for detrimental outcomes on biodiversity and wider environmental issues, climate change mitigation, and health, and too little detail to assess the proposals properly. CIBSE has therefore geared its response towards recommendations for the development and implementation of the proposals.

The key recommendations are as follows:

  • More strategic consideration and a more robust assessment of sustainability and environmental impacts to deliver the government’s commitments.
  • A confirmation that the proposals for a faster and simplified approval system will not run against the Hackitt Review and Building Safety Bill, and details on how the proposals would work with the new regulatory system, including the new Gateways.
  • Design codes must set best practice for new buildings and retrofit. They must be robust and have at their heart low-energy design, good air quality, and good fabric performance for efficiency, daylight, acoustics and year-round thermal comfort.
  • A more ambitious and comprehensive approach to retrofit.
  • The ability for local authorities and communities to demonstrate leadership in climate change and sustainability, by setting standards higher than the national minima in neighbourhood plans, zones, or local design codes.
  • The proposed resources and skills strategy for the planning sector must support better enforcement, better monitoring, as well as plan-making and decision-making for the delivery of net zero carbon. Improving competence and enforcement is crucial to deliver the recommendations of the Hackitt Review.
  • Monitoring of policy outcomes, including energy use and carbon emissions, in particular a disclosure of energy and carbon performance for schemes above a certain size.
  • Using public procurement to demonstrate exemplar practice, building supply chains and expertise towards net zero carbon. This should apply to homes delivered through Homes England, as well as public land and assets.

To read the full CIBSE response follow the link below.