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Government to reform the planning system

The government has unveiled plans to revamp the planning system, in a document entitled Planning for the Future.

The changes should make it easier for developers to demolish vacant buildings and replace them with new homes.

Councils will be encouraged to build upwards, as well as above and around stations.

The government said it will help self-builders by supporting those who want to find their own plots of land.

Robert Jenrick, housing secretary, said: “I want everyone, no matter where they live, to have access to affordable, safe, quality housing and live in communities with a real sense of place – as part of our mission to level up, unite and unleash the potential of this country.

“We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people onto the ladder.”

Next month the government will launch a register of brownfield sites to encourage councils to make the most of this land first, backed by £400m of funding.

All local authorities will also be required to have up-to-date local plans in place by December 2023 or face government intervention.

The government will launch a planning White Paper in the spring.

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “The statement is welcome, particularly the encouragement of developers to build upwards and around transport hubs as well as quicker delivery of homes on unused and underused land.

“However, to my mind the most important point is confidence in delivery. How do we judge the success of the White Paper and why should we have more confidence in this compared with previous government initiatives?

“We need to increase the supply of social and affordable homes in the places where people most want to live and we need to improve planning times and remove obstacles to delivery.”