Planning reforms to be introduced in new Infrastructure Bill

Out-Law News | 05 Jun 2014 | 3:04 pm | 1 min. read

The UK government will bring forward legislation to sell high value government land, encouraging development and increasing housing, it was announced in yesterday's Queen's speech.

The Queen said in the speech that planning law will be reformed to improve the UK's economic competitiveness (105-page / 851KB PDF). Housing supply and home ownership will be increased by enabling new locally-led garden cities and by supporting small house building firms, she said.

A briefing note published following the speech said that a new Infrastructure Bill will allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged automatically if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period, reducing unnecessary delay and costs.

It said that the planning system will be reformed to make it easier for empty and redundant buildings to be converted into productive use to support brownfield regeneration and increase the supply of new homes.

According to the note the government will provide development finance to support smaller builders to develop new homes across the country. A £525 million 'Builders’ Finance Fund' will deliver up to 15,000 further homes on small sites over the course of its programme and the imposition of Section 106 levies on small-scale development will be scaled back, the note said.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said in a statement that the prioritisation of investment in infrastructure over the coming year was welcome, but that the Speech had a "frustrating lack of detail on the much talked about garden cities and immediate delivery of key infrastructure projects".