'Automatic' planning permission given for new homes in overhaul

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
New house under construction framing beam against a blue sky
New house under construction framing beam against a blue sky

New homes, schools and hospitals will be given “automatic” permission to be built, under a radical shake-up of planning reforms.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has proposed a complete overhaul of the “outdated and complex” planning system, to build homes faster, in a complete overhaul of a system that has been in place since 1947.

The announcement came after Boris Johnson pledged £5bn ($6.6bn) to “build, build, build,” to create more affordable homes to boost Britain’s economy after the coronavirus crisis.

The government also said that the new process will be done through a democratic local agreement, which will make it more “clear cut and cut out the red tape.”

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Jenrick said: “For too long home ownership has remained out of reach for too many, as a complex and outdated planning system has failed to keep up with the needs of our country.

“I am completely overhauling the system so we can build more good quality, attractive and affordable homes faster – and more young families can finally have the key to their own home.”

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph ahead of consultations to be launched next week, Jenrick said the government is cutting the “red tape but not standards”, he also unveiled plans for a “digital transformation” that will allow people to see plans in their area via “digital maps.”

As part of the new process, land will be designated into three categories; land for growth, renewal areas and protected land.

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Under the new rules, land for growth will allow homes, hospitals and GP surgeries to be built “automatically” - if local councils deem it necessary.

In renewal areas, building plans in mostly existing urban areas, will get “permission in principle”, to speed up the process while allowing for appropriate checks for new housing developments, and in order to restore UK high streets.

New development will be banned on protected land such as the green belt and areas of outstanding national beauty.

The government’s announcement is in line with the Conservatives election manifesto which promised to build 300,000 new homes a year in “the areas that really need them.”

The new approach will work through an interactive and accessible map-based online system “placing planning at the fingertips”, the government said.

By relaxing the planning laws, the government hopes to create millions of new jobs in the construction sector to help soften the economic impact of COVID-19, as the retail and hospitality sectors continue to struggle.