The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has called for the creation of a so called ‘fourth zone’ to unlock potential regeneration opportunities that have been blocked by existing planning rules.
The CLC’s recommendations came in response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government Planning for the Future consultation. The consultation, which closed last week, identifies three types of land use:
Growth: where development will be promoted with automatic outline approval for appropriate development;
Renewal: where some development can occur;
Protected: where development is restricted.
The CLC’s proposed ‘fourth zone’ sites would set long-term growth objectives, would not be constrained by an initial outline plan and would build on the government’s commitment to level-up parts of the country where regeneration would deliver on real social and economic outcomes.
The CLC response also calls for:
- Robust strategic planning at ‘larger-than-local’ level;
- Investment in digitisation of the planning process on a wider level;
- A renewed commitment to design quality which would consider the wider local social and economic outcomes such as employment, infrastructure and how the development sits within a local community;
- A consolidated infrastructure levy that is sensitive to local area viability, can be used flexibly and is dedicated to securing local social and economic infrastructure;
- Properly resourcing local authorities to deliver their planning functions;
- Avoiding any hiatus in work when transitioning to new reformed system.
The CLC’s response has been prepared by its Local, Social and Commercial (LSC), and Housing working groups.
LSC co-chair Paul Reilly said: “As we emerge from Covid-19 the planning system can act as a significant accelerator of economic recovery if it can unlock appropriate development. Our proposals for a fourth planning zone would unleash the potential of regeneration sites nationwide.”
Housing chair John Slaughter said: “A commitment from government to universal coverage of simplified local plans, adopted within clear timescales, and which plan positively for development will play a key part in delivering the 300,000 homes a year we need. We look forward to working with government on the details of these important planning reforms.”