In the annual Spring Statement delivered to the House of Commons on 13 March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond announced a round of planning reforms that focus on the delivery of homes.
New planning guidelines supporting housing diversification, especially on bigger development sites, are expected to be introduced in the coming months to help meet a diverse range of housing needs. An independent report by Sir Oliver Letwin concluded that greater diversity in the types and tenures of housing on large sites is critical to build homes more quickly.
The Spring Statement also included reforms that will allow a greater change of use between premises. On top of that, a new permitted development right will be set forward for extending already existing buildings upwards. This will create new homes without taking up more land.
With a focus on quickening the planning process, an Accelerated Planning Green Paper will also be published later in the year to detail proposed changes to the process as a whole. The paper is expected to discuss how the planning process can be accelerated through greater capability and capacity, procedural improvements and performance management. Additionally, it will discuss how to reduce the time it takes to conclude planning appeals as it often takes between six to nine months.
Many planning and property professionals believe the Government hasn't committed to the changes needed to have a notable impact, however, some think the Government has recognised a few of the issues holding back housing delivery.