‘Keep planning local’

As first was going to press, a policy paper was expected from the Government setting out its proposals to radically overhaul the planning system.

It comes after the LGA joined with more than 15 other organisations in calling on ministers to keep planning in England local.

In an open letter to The Telegraph, the LGA and partners warned that taking planning powers away from communities and councils will only deprive them of the ability to define the area they live in and know best, and risks giving developers the freedom to “ride roughshod” over local areas.

As the country embarks on recovering from COVID-19, the letter underlined the importance of local communities being at the heart of the recovery.

This followed the Prime Minister announcing a plan to “Build, build, build” as part of a ‘New Deal’ for Britain, including investment in infrastructure, as well as further planning reforms to enable buildings to change use without planning permission, such as converting commercial properties into housing.

Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “Investment in infrastructure will be vital, but with local control over how this funding is spent, councils can play a key role in providing genuinely affordable homes, fixing the nation’s roads, delivering high-speed broadband and high-quality mobile connectivity, boosting local economies, and tackling environmental challenges.

“Planning powers must also remain at a local level, to enable councils to deliver resilient, prosperous places that meet the needs of their communities.”

New laws have also been announced that will mean full planning applications will not be required to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes, and will allow homeowners to add up to two additional storeys to their property to create new homes or more living space.


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