Planning for the future explained

The government has announced proposals to modernise the planning system to get Britain building.

Applies to England

Download the PDF version (PDF, 191 KB, 1 page) of this summary.

The current planning system is complicated, favours larger developers and often means that much needed new homes are delayed.

We’re proposing a new system which is easier for the public to access, transforms the way communities are shaped and builds the homes this country needs.

The changes will mean more good quality, attractive and affordable homes can be built faster – and more young families can have the key to their own home.

In the new system local areas will develop plans for land to be designated into three categories:

  • Growth areas will back development, with development approved at the same time plans are prepared, meaning new homes, schools, shops and business space can be built quickly and efficiently, as long as local design standards are met.
  • Renewal areas will be suitable for some development – where it is high-quality in a way which meets design and other prior approval requirements the process will be quicker. If not, development will need planning approval in the usual way.
  • Protected areas will be just that – development will be restricted to carry on protecting our treasured heritage like Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

The reforms will mean:

  • 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 has an up-to-date plan to build more homes.
  • The planning system will be made more accessible, by harnessing the latest technology through online maps and data.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay – this will provide more certainty about the number of affordable homes being built.
  • The creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and establishing local design guidance for developers to build and preserve beautiful communities.
  • All new homes to be ‘zero carbon ready’, with no new homes delivered under the new system needed to be retrofitted as we achieve our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We’re currently consulting on these proposals and you can have your say online: Planning for the future consultation

Published 6 August 2020