NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN LATEST NEWS-PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION

 Government Consultation Questionnaire 09/09/2020

The Government has published a White Paper outlining changes to the  Planning System and a consultation on the proposals is now running until the end of October 2020.The Government aims to simplify the Planning System in order to stimulate house building.

Under the Government’s proposals, Local Plans would identify three categories of land:

  1. Areas earmarked for “Growth” which would be considered suitable for substantial development and where outline approval would be automatically granted
  2. Areas earmarked for “Renewal” suitable for some development, such as “gentle densification”
  3. Areas considered to be “Protected” in which development is restricted.

The document says a new, nationally determined, binding housing requirement would oblige local planning authorities to deliver housing numbers committed through their local plans. It says the requirement would be focused on areas where affordability pressure is highest to stop land supply being a barrier to enough homes being built. The government has published a separate consultation on the proposed changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need and says that  the standard method would be a means of distributing the national housebuilding target of 300,000 new homes annually.

Local Plans would not , as now, include  general policies for development but would be required to set out site and area specific requirements for development, alongside locally produced design codes and the government proposes that local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate will be required through legislation to meet a statutory timetable (of no more than 30 months in total) for key stages of the process, promising sanctions for those who fail to do so. Local Plans will need to identify areas to meet a range of development needs – such as homes, businesses and community facilities – for a minimum period of 10 years.

Planning Authorities would be given new powers to drive up design and sustainability standards-“ the creation of beautiful places”, with design codes being prepared locally and made more binding on planning decisions. Each local planning authority would be required to have a chief officer for design and place-making.

It adds that there would be “a statutory presumption in favour of development being granted for the uses specified as being suitable in each area”.

The Consultation states that while development should be targeted at areas that can absorb the level of housing proposed, the least affordable places where historic under-supply has been most chronic take a greater share of future development.

If the consultation leads to the change it clearly intends, the challenges for the Neighbourhood Plan Area are clear. Caterham is a “Category 1” settlement ( along with Warlingham and  Oxted) , which means that we will, in all probability, continue to be a target for housing growth. However, the Consultation does make clear that Neighbourhood Plans will have a substantial role to play in the changed planning environment. It states: Neighbourhood Plans should be retained as an important means of community input, and we will support communities to make better use of digital tools and asks how the neighbourhood planning process be developed to meet our objectives, such as in the use of digital tools and reflecting community preferences about design.

Therefore after discussion at the Caterham Hill Parish Council, which is the Lead Parish in the Neighbourhood Plan Area, we have decided it would be appropriate to try and stimulate some debate locally about the Government’s consultation on Planning. We will therefore be seeking through Local Media to understand the local feeling about what is proposed. The Consultation Paper is available to read here:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future

 

The Document contains a total of 37 questions about its proposals. This has been slimmed down to a 15 question questionnaire and if you want to complete this and forward back to the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Chair, please do so at  or follow the instructions on the Questionnaire . It will be issued as a pull out in the next issue of the CR3 Magazine and can also be downloaded here. Government Consultation Questionnaire 09/09/2020  or you can fill it in online.

 

The Document is 84 pages long and so to help I have included a government brief here.

Planning for the Future one page summary

Jeremy Webster

Chair Steering Group

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Front cover of plan

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