New Planning Rules

A new planning rulebook was published on 24th July 2018.


A number of new policies have been introduced that will penalise local authorities and communities in areas that fail to build at least 75% of the houses that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has decided the area needs.

Local authorities would ultimately lose the right to determine planning applications. A team of external inspectors would be appointed with a brief to approve valid planning applications regardless of any objections from local communities.


Why has this been done?

Insufficient new houses are currently being built to meet demand. The government concluded that reform was necessary to speed up the housebuilding process.

The new rulebook contains 80 new proposals designed to tackle the problem.

Three "logjams" were identified:

  • developers securing planning permission but sitting on a site waiting for its value to increase.
  • local authorities that failed to plan for their future housing need.
  • communities objecting to valid planning applications that are subsequently allowed at appeal.

Between 1st July 2012 and 30th June 2018 a third of the planning appeals heard were allowed - Inspectors found that nearly 16,500 applications had been incorrectly refused by local authorities and communities.

The new policies are designed to significantly reduce this number by preventing local authorities and communities rejecting perfectly valid proposals.

Rather than objecting at the end of the process communities are being asked to state what is and what is not acceptable at the start of the process by writing a Neighbourhood Plan.

The new planning rulebook can be summarized in two sentences:

Communities without a Neighbourhood Plan will find it increasingly difficult to prevent valid planning applications they do not like.

Communities seeking to restrict development in their area need to write a Neighbourhood Plan.


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