Planning for the next generation
The 2016 Budget is with us, and while the headlines focus on sugary drinks and Lifetime ISAs here are the key points in relation to the government's proposals for delivering new housing, expanding infrastructure and further planning system reform.
Planning and Housing
The government is to continue its plans to streamline the planning system. It announced a move to a more zonal and 'red line' planning system, making maximum use of permission in principle and reducing the stages developers need to pass through to gain planning permission. Delivery of local plans will be ensured by 2017, with measures set out later this year to encourage their production.
Unlocking more land for housing is a recurring theme. Central government partnerships with Local Authorities and Network Rail will aim to release publically owned land for housing, as well as commercial development and regeneration. Increasing densities on brownfield land is targeted through a consultation on devolved powers as per last year's 'Building Up' consultation in London.
The construction of a new wave of garden towns and cities is highlighted as a further source of housing creation, with the government stating it will legislate to make it easier for local authorities to work together to create new garden towns. Additional reform of Compulsory Purchase Orders, to make the process "clearer, fairer and quicker" is also promised..
Technical and financial support is on offer to areas that want to establish settlements of between 1,500 to 10,000 homes, with government to shortly announce the details of planning and financial flexibilities to be offered to Local Authorities that offer settlement proposals with a significant number of additional homes.
The government has accepted recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Commission on key UK infrastructure. It has committed to provide £300 million of funding to improve northern transport connectivity, including High Speed 3 between Leeds and Manchester, as part of the government's Northern Powerhouse vision. The green light has been given to Crossrail 2 in London together with £80 million to help fund its development. A further general commitment to a "smart power revolution" to bring increased benefits to consumers in the UK power market was also announced.
The direction of further infrastructure needs assessment was also set, with two new studies by the Commission on 5G deployment and development of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.
While much of the detail remains to be seen, this Budget has brought housing and infrastructure firmly into focus for government in the next 12 months. The Blake Morgan planning blog will follow developments with interest.