Planning system, queen's speech
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The Queen’s speech has outlined plans for the government to strengthen the economy, improve infrastructure and modernise the planning system

Proposals will be taken forward to transform connectivity by rail and bus (High Speed Rail Bill) and to extend 5G mobile coverage and gigabit capable broadband (Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill).

The Queen said: “Measures will be introduced to ensure that support for businesses reflects the United Kingdom’s strategic interests and drives economic growth [Subsidy Control Bill].

“Laws will simplify procurement in the public sector [Procurement Bill]. Eight new Freeports will create hubs for trade and help regenerate communities [National Insurance Contributions Bill].

The UK has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

Ensuring tragedies of the past are never repeated

Laws to modernise the planning system, so that more homes can be built, will be brought forward, along with measures to end the practice of ground rents for new leasehold properties [Planning Bill, Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill].

Speaking about The Planning Bill, Her Majesty said: “My Government will help more people to own their own home whilst enhancing the rights of those who rent.

“My ministers will establish in law a new Building Safety Regulator to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated [Building Safety Bill].”

Industry response

Pete Ladhams, managing director at Assael Architecture, said: “The planning system was urgently in need of an overhaul, and we welcome a shortened and more efficient planning process.

“By eliminating the second tier of potential objections to planning, homes will be built much faster, greatly increasing our chances of reaching the government’s target of 300,000 homes a year.

“In growth areas, enabling the automatic planning approval of offices, homes, retail, hospitals and schools will allow architects to respond to the urgent needs of towns and cities swiftly.

“But, as architects, our role will now be to design these buildings and ensure they’re high-quality, contextually sensitive to local aesthetics, and that they are helping to form and strengthen communities and bridge the gap between existing residents and new developments.”

Peter Hawthorne, CEO at LCR, said: “Zoning land for development or regeneration could help unlock much-needed housing stock.

“But the reform announced today will take time to roll out, and local authorities can take advantage of opportunities to bring forward development now to meet existing demand for new housing.

“Transport-linked land is one such opportunity. Executed well, transport-focused regeneration can help to deliver new homes and create jobs for a local area. But critically, it can also act as a catalyst for wider investment in regional economies, making it a natural fit for the ‘build back better’ strategy.”

Dean Clifford, co-founder, Great Marlborough Estates, added: “Whether owning a home turns you into a Tory is debatable but what’s not debatable is homeownership remains the aspiration for the vast majority of Britons and it is right the government should look to prioritise getting people onto the housing ladder.

“A new zonal system that simplifies the planning process would is a welcome move. Planning authorities should also have the necessary resources to enforce the strict design codes promised and it is crucial that so-called ‘growth’ areas are fairly distributed and cover where housing need is greatest.”

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