New homes to be granted “automatic planning permission” under new government ruling

The UK government has highlighted and designated certain “growth areas” within which new housing is granted permission automatically, housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

Mr Jenrick announced the overhaul in a column for the Sunday Telegraph, which also promised the reformed system would “place a higher regard on quality and design than ever before”.

Details of the planned reform are yet to be announced directly from the government but from the context of the column the main focuses of the overhaul consist of growth, renewal and protection.

Each area will develop tailoring to one of the three specific focuses, whichever one the area needs developing the most. In areas where growth is the focus the development of homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will automatically be granted.

In areas of renewal a “permission in principle” approach will be adopted which will mean there will be some required checks on all new plans.

In his column Mr Jenrick did not go into detail about the limitations that will be placed on development in protected areas such as areas of natural beauty and areas of historical significance.

The announcement of this major government shake up comes weeks after they announced a significant expansion in permitted development rights, which allows the conversion of former commercial premises to homes without planning permission.

Mr Jenrick insists that the reforms will result in higher-quality housing and wrote: “We are cutting red tape but not standards.”

He went on the expand on this saying: “Our reformed system places a higher regard on quality and design than ever before, and draws inspiration from the idea of design codes and pattern books that built Bath, Belgravia and Bournville”.

This reform will also likely have an effect on the development of affordable housing under Section 106 requirements, which often see builders required to include a percentage of affordable housing in their developments. It is therefore likely to help make more affordable homes for certain areas in a much quicker timeframe.

The major argument for this reform on planning permission is the fact that planning permission very rarely gets rejected. According to James Jamieson, the chair of the Local Government Association, “Nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils”. Therefore essentially nullifying planning permission in certain areas will massively speed up the erection of new homes.

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