Campaign response - Planning for the Future White Paper and consultation - 7 September 2020
This new paper aims to deliver a new vision for England’s planning system.
The aim is to deliver new development that will include better built homes of less density incorporated in a more green and open space environment
This is to be achieved through subsidy, generated by the income from the new infrastructure levy, allowing more affordable homes for local people in areas where they are required.
In simple terms giving these proposals will make it easier for houses to be built in urban areas and ‘areas of growth’ set aside in local plans for development.
This will be achieved by allocating new areas of growth attached to existing urban areas or the introduction of new settlements. More power will be given to the local people to influence where these new areas of growth will be. Local plans such as the Cornwall Local Plan should be focused on where they can add real value by allocating enough land for development in the right places.
Local planning authorities like Cornwall Council will no longer be deciding outline applications in these areas of growth so the emphasis from the council’s perspective for these applications will change to more control on how they fit into the local environment and the quality aspects of the developments.
As well as this, a new infrastructure levy will also be introduced as part of these proposals, to replace the existing section 106 arrangement and the community infrastructure levy. This new levy will be collected by government and not by local authorities. It will give local authorities greater power over developers contributions and how they are use by expanding the scope of the levy. The previous process took a long time and the money set aside for improvements often went unspent.
The new levy should deliver more affordable homes in the places they are required via the levy. It will also be used to deliver important infrastructure, for example new schools new health facilities and road infrastructure. The hope is that there will be more ambition to provide affordable houses of better quality provided by the planning gain.
Another new feature of the White Paper is the new master plan design codes, which should seek to include a variety of development types Including the opportunity for more builders to take part in the delivery. This will open up opportunities for small local building firms. This will also allow more phasing to come forward at one time, creating competition and preventing large firms from having a monopoly.
In good news for Cornwall, the White Paper aims to give greater protection to areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas and areas where there is a particular environmental or character or cultural significance that would justify more protection.
The introduction of the new growth areas and the aim to deliver affordable housing closer to the existing urban areas or in new settlements should from now on also allow villages to grow in a more organic and slower pace.
Once this consultation completes, and if this policy is implemented, it will be for local authorities like Cornwall Council to modify their Local Plans in order to add the growth areas. This will then give Cornwall areas where development is favoured and areas where it is not. I hope that Cornwall Council will be able to do this effectively in order to fulfil their obligations.
While significant coverage has been given to the proposals that new developments of less than 50 houses will have no obligation to deliver affordable housing, I believe that there are the existing policies that will prevent this happening in rural locations but accordingly will help to deliver development on brownfield sites in the urban centres by making them more viable to develop.
The white paper is out for consultation from 6 August for 12 weeks so I would also encourage you to complete the consultation. A link to it is below:
I will be raising feedback given to me with Ministerial colleagues as part of this process.