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Muller Property specialises in working with farmers and landowners to help them promote their land in order to secure planning permission for housing development or employment.
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The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has made promises over the past few years about planning, specifically with regards to housing and planning permissions to meet the growing needs of the UK population.
In the recent Queen’s Speech, many of these plans were addressed in the form of the new Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
Here, Colin Muller, Chief Executive of Muller Property Group examines the new bill, and the impact it could have on progression of housing within the planning system.
The key points from the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill include:
Standalone Planning Bill is scrapped
Originally introduced in May 2021, the Planning Bill has been scrapped and is now incorporated into the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. The ‘tidying up’ of the planning system will instead be made through ‘levelling-up’ legislation.
One of the aims is to empower local communities with ‘street votes’ and encourage residents to play a more active role in shaping the design of new development in their area, whilst balancing the aspirations of Local Authorities.
Overall, I am afraid that these reforms will become a charter for NIMBY-ism that will further impede and slow down decision making.
The planning application process is already a “busted flush” and just does not deliver timely decisions, even where sites are allocated for development or planning permission has been granted in outline.
Powerful competitor market
The bill also intends to give new powers to local authorities to bring forward proposals for urban development areas for new towns and establish a Council run development corporation.
These locally-led proposals can be in one local authority area, or made jointly with one or more neighbouring areas. The corporation itself may then become the planning authority for the designated area.
What’s more, the government proposes to remove borrowing limits for Council-led development corporations. These fundamental changes would open-up a new, powerful competitor in the market for development land.
We will see local authorities pushing their own agenda, which will ultimately be steered by central government. The influence of central government on a local level will pose a threat to democratic decision making.
A new consolidated Infrastructure Levy
This would be determined locally to raise funds for housing, schools, hospitals and new roads.
The value of the funds will be based on the final value of the property when sold, rather than floorspace. This is, in essence, an additional tax on the landowner.
Gove has abandoned 300,000-homes-a-year-target
The delivery of 300,000 new homes was a key Conservative pledge at the 2019 general elections, however Gove appears to have abandoned plans and was quoted saying that a “statistical target” was not the only measure of success.
This decision shows that sadly, there is no means of holding the government accountable to solving the housing crisis.
Streamlining and regulating the process for Local Plans
Generic planning policies guiding development (Development Management Policies) will now be set by the government, leaving local plans to focus purely on site allocations and specific local policies. Unfortunately, general policy does not address specific local problems and is not “one size fits all.”
Plans to ditch five-year-land supply
The government proposes that councils with up-to-date local plans will no longer need to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.
Meaning that early engagement will be a key aspect of any planning strategy. The requirement to put forward comprehensive representations outlining why your land should be allocated is paramount. Gone are the days of submitting a ‘red edge on a plan.’
The longer term impact of the above remains unknown and the government is yet to provide clarity on how they are to deliver on the levelling up agenda, and ‘the new homes promises’ that were pledged by the Conservatives during the last election.
Delivery of new housing is a key component of a thriving economy which is even more important with the threat of a recession on the horizon.
“There are no “quick wins” when it comes to obtaining planning permission. Selecting the right partner to do the job is crucial to a successful outcome.”
Muller is a trusted family-run business with a proven track record in securing planning permissions and realising the value of land where others may fail.
The expertise Muller has, along with its quick decision making and a personal approach, allows farmers and landowners to maximise the value of their land.
To find out more visit the Muller Property website.