Significant changes to the planning system in England are being proposed which appear to go much further than many in the industry first thought and which could create a number of new strategic land opportunities here in the South East where house prices and demand for houses is high.
The Planning for The Future consultation runs until 29th October 2020 and proposes reforms to streamline and modernise the planning process, bringing a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.
The consultation is focussed on housing and the approach to housing demand. The Government would in the future set binding numbers for each Local Planning Authority to meet the 300,000 new dwellings a year needed (identified in the 2004 Barker Report). Currently local plans provide for 187,000 and in 2019, 241,000 were built, which includes those under permitted development rights. Clearly the hike in numbers needed to meet the recommended levels will mean much more land being brought forward more quickly here in the South East.
Alongside this will be the proposals in the draft Environment Bill which sets out for developers to achieve a 10% improvement to biodiversity value, and they will be required to submit a biodiversity plan along with their development plans. A net gain on the same site as the development is preferred but achieving 110% of biodiversity value and a development scheme will in some circumstances be impossible and a separate site will be required.
BNG is already a requirement of the National Planning Policy Framework and National Planning Practice Guidance, and Local Planning Authorities will be required to produce plans detailing priorities in the borough for biodiversity projects.
"There is a lot for landowners in the South East to consider here as the measure which will be used to determine the number of new houses built will be based on house prices as a multiple of incomes in each area. Where the multiple is more than four will mean more houses will be expected to be provided by the LPA. Each LPA will have to identify in its new local plan areas which are Growth, Renewal and Protection areas.” “Growth areas will see zoning for planning permission for all development that meets the design requirements that the LPAs set. Section 106 financial obligations will be replaced with a nationally set infrastructure levy based on the final capital value of the development before occupation. This is certainly proposed to be the biggest shake up of the planning system in England in over 70 years and many landowners will find they are affected by the new zoning proposals. Navigating opportunities and responsibilities will need careful management.”
To discuss your land holding for strategic land opportunities, natural capital and Biodiversity Net Gain assessments contact our team.