Queens speech 2021

In a short speech in the House of Lords earlier today, the Queen outlined 26 laws that the Government intends to pass over the coming year. Whilst some of the bills were a repeat of previous announcements, a number were new, albeit widely reported on in advance. Of most relevance to planning, and the wider property industry, are:

  • A Planning Bill is to introduce changes to the planning system in England to make it simpler, faster and more modern, with the intention of quickening the delivery of homes and infrastructure. Ultimately, the Government wants to create more property-owners given their likely Conservative-leaning tendencies. Given that the Government has not yet formally responded to the White Paper consultation, the likely contents of the Planning Bill are largely unknown. However, it is clear that ensuring simpler, faster procedures for producing Local Plans will be front and centre, with this seen as increasing the efficiency of the development management process. The continued reference to deregulation means that ‘growth areas’ and ‘protected areas’ are likely to become standard vocabulary for the industry. Is this just rhetoric and headline grabbing, or will the Planning Bill actually increase efficiency in the system? As ever, the devil will be in the detail.

 

  • The National Insurance Contributions Bill is to include tax breaks for employers based in England’s Freeports. Whilst this, together with deregulation of planning, within the designated freeports is clearly positive, what does this mean for associated supply chain businesses that will likely need to be located in proximity, but outside the deregulated area. Local Planning Authorities are already struggling to understand the implications for areas outside of the designated Freeports. Can they react with sufficient pace to accommodate the pressure for additional development?

 

  • The much delayed Environment Bill, with the biodiversity net gain requirements, was referenced and will likely pass through with speed given that it is at an advanced stage.

 

  • A Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will seek to extend 5G mobile coverage. It will be interesting to see whether this extends the scope of permitted development rights in an attempt to quicken the pace of delivery.

Tom Pike (Regional Director at Lanpro) welcomed the continued focus on the planning process, although noted caution regarding the potential unintended consequences of seeking to streamline the system. “The housing shortage continues to be a major risk to the UK economy as it recovers following the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it’s imperative that housing delivery is not just about speed and the headline number, but that place-making and high-quality design are the focus. Local Planning Authorities also need to be appropriately resourced to respond to any changes; both private and public sector will need to work together if output is to increase.”

 

  • A Planning Bill is to introduce changes to the planning system in England to make it simpler, faster and more modern, with the intention of quickening the delivery of homes and infrastructure. Ultimately, the Government wants to create more property-owners given their likely Conservative-leaning tendencies. Given that the Government has not yet formally responded to the White Paper consultation, the likely contents of the Planning Bill are largely unknown. However, it is clear that ensuring simpler, faster procedures for producing Local Plans will be front and centre, with this seen as increasing the efficiency of the development management process. The continued reference to deregulation means that ‘growth areas’ and ‘protected areas’ are likely to become standard vocabulary for the industry. Is this just rhetoric and headline grabbing, or will the Planning Bill actually increase efficiency in the system? As ever, the devil will be in the detail.

 

  • The National Insurance Contributions Bill is to include tax breaks for employers based in England’s Freeports. Whilst this, together with deregulation of planning, within the designated freeports is clearly positive, what does this mean for associated supply chain businesses that will likely need to be located in proximity, but outside the deregulated area. Local Planning Authorities are already struggling to understand the implications for areas outside of the designated Freeports. Can they react with sufficient pace to accommodate the pressure for additional development?

 

  • The much delayed Environment Bill, with the biodiversity net gain requirements, was referenced and will likely pass through with speed given that it is at an advanced stage.

 

  • A Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will seek to extend 5G mobile coverage. It will be interesting to see whether this extends the scope of permitted development rights in an attempt to quicken the pace of delivery.

Tom Pike (Regional Director at Lanpro) welcomed the continued focus on the planning process, although noted caution regarding the potential unintended consequences of seeking to streamline the system. “The housing shortage continues to be a major risk to the UK economy as it recovers following the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it’s imperative that housing delivery is not just about speed and the headline number, but that place-making and high-quality design are the focus. Local Planning Authorities also need to be appropriately resourced to respond to any changes; both private and public sector will need to work together if output is to increase.”

 

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