Queen’s Speech: Planning and infrastructure

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During the state opening of parliament, the Queen outlined the government’s plans for planning and infrastructure…

The Queen’s Speech today outlined a number of areas relating to planning and infrastructure for the year ahead.

Among this was the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill for England and Wales. This aims to focus on speeding up housing developments by streamlining planning conditions. Local communities will be given more input into neighbourhood planning, giving them the chance to have a say over their community.

Discussing the bill, Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong said: “We welcome the announcement in today’s Queen’s Speech of measures to strengthen neighbourhood planning, which will give local people more of a say over how their area grows.

“Neighbourhood planning is a tool to enable growth and development and gives communities a chance to have their voice heard in a way that is meaningful.

“It’s encouraging to see the government recognising the importance of neighbourhood planning and we look forward to seeing more detail as it emerges through the drafting of the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.

“Measures outlined so far indicate that the government has listened to our concerns over the lack of consistency with local authority legal duty to support which has caused problems for many groups we have worked with.

“We support greater transparency and clarity about what exactly this duty should include and we would welcome improvements to reviewing and updating plans to ensure the process is clearer and more streamlined.”

Compulsory planning orders will also undergo transformation to ensure the process is “cleaner, fairer, and faster”.

The government will work to simplify land ownership in response to a report from the Law Commission.

Another area that was covered in the speech was the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). This was set up to advise the government on building effective and efficient infrastructure for the UK. going forward, this will be made statutory and independent.

NIC’s chair Lord Adonis said: “I strongly welcome the government’s announcement that it will make the National Infrastructure Commission statutory and independent.

“This is a major advance for infrastructure planning in Britain and will give the commission the power it needs to do its work.

“The commission looks forward to engaging with MPs and Peers ‎as the legislation advances to make this process as successful as possible.”

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