Adam Tuck, Director, and Head of Planning at Cheffins says:

“The subject of planning has been a political minefield for years. Current and previous administrations have been under considerable pressure to deliver significant numbers of new homes and development, and the annual target figure of 300,000 homes has for many years been unachievable, frustrated mainly by an inefficient planning system.

As part of the Queen’s Speech on 10th May, wholesale changes and reforms to the planning system have been largely abandoned with the Speech instead saying the current system will be ‘’strengthened and digitised.” What this comes to mean, only time will tell. However one announcement was that a Bill will be brought forward to drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success. With this, the planning system will be reformed to give residents more involvement in local development under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. This will perhaps be more appealing to some voters, giving local people powers to shape planning decisions in their areas, however, within the planning industry, it has also been widely criticised as having shown the government to have given in to the NIMBYs.

In reality, empowering and giving local people influence to shape planning decisions in their areas is probably a recipe for disaster. I suspect that this could delay already sluggish planning decisions further and create headaches for property developers and councils alike as they look to fulfil their yearly housing targets. Another way around this would have been to give more power to the planning professionals to make the decisions on where permissions be granted, rather than those who are going to have biased opinions. In reality, this will cause a conflict of interest, very few residents welcome development near their properties with open arms, however in order for the housing crisis to be even marginally relieved, significant numbers of new homes need to be built throughout the country.

Only 216,000 new homes were built in the UK last year, and one alternative route the government could have taken to accelerate property development and speed up the planning process would be to improve resourcing and listen to the private sector. The private sector is where greater understandings are of the commercial pressures which affect the delivery of development, whilst the majority of planning departments in councils up and down the country are understaffed and under resourced and this results in delays to planning decisions, which often has a knock on effect on project prices.”

For more information, contact Adam Tuck on