In August 2020, the government began consultation on proposed radical planning reforms that have the potential to substantially change the way new homes are built in England. Working with planning-led consultancy Iceni, Catalyst submitted our response to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) before it closed late last month and have now published it on our website here.
Our response goes into some detail on our view of the proposed new planning reforms, but you can read a brief summary of our core points below:
- We oppose the merging of Section 106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as we consider, despite the ambition of the proposals, that this will reduce the quantum of affordable housing delivered through the planning system. We urge the government to protect affordable housing delivery and retain the link between the acceptability of a planning application and the level of affordable housing provided, rather than relegating this to a post-decision matter.
- We broadly support proposals for protection and growth policies, subject to some amendments, including ensuring allocations are reasonable and enshrine affordable housing provision within them.
- We support the provision of design codes in principle, but it will be important that these are flexible and set reasonably to avoid them being used to frustrate development.
- We may support centrally imposed housing targets if they can meet specific conditions which would avoid slowing down the planning system and ensure the delivery of new affordable homes.
- We welcome the reduction in the production time for local plans as long as it is properly resourced.
- We believe that five year housing land supply tests need to be retained as a trigger for the ‘Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development’ until it can be demonstrated that the new system will not lead to delays in bringing forward sufficient permissions to meet housing need.
Catalyst actively engages with the planning system in order to deliver our programme of new affordable homes. One of the core principals in our approach to planning is to maximise the amount of consultation we do, particularly on our estate regenerations where we often carry out public charters and work in partnership with a resident’s steering group to deliver the new scheme.