Planning for the future - our consultation response

05 November 2020

We’ve produced a briefing for members which sets out our response to the government’s consultation on proposed planning reforms set out in its white paper, Planning for the future.

The government launched Planning for the future on 6 August, a consultation on its proposals for long-term planning reforms. This was announced alongside proposals for short-term changes to the planning system, which we responded to in September.

We submitted our response to the white paper consultation on 30 October. Many members and stakeholders contributed towards our thinking – we’re grateful to all who shared their insight.

Our response broadly supported two of the paper’s three ‘pillars’, which seek to accelerate plan-making and enhance design standards. However, we raised concerns about the proposal to replace Section 106 as a means to capture developer contributions with a new infrastructure levy.

The proposed new infrastructure levy has created concerns across the development sector. Many respondents questioned the lack of work done to assess its likely impact, and the potential loss of the better features of Section 106 – such as:

  • Certainty that necessary enabling works would be undertaken, allowing developments to go ahead.
  • The potential that levy contributions might be spent on a much wider range of purposes.

We have argued that – should the levy be introduced – affordable housing should be exempt, and that housing associations should be involved in the early stages of private developments to negotiate details of affordable homes required.

We and many other respondents also pointed to the under-resourcing of local authorities as being one of the biggest problems with the current planning system, and something which could undermine the successful introduction of a new approach.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry on the future of the planning system in England. Our Chief Executive Kate Henderson will be giving evidence.