Speaking as a private sector planner, I was quite pleased to see that the proposals to introduce zoning have been dropped. I think they had potential to work in heavily urban areas but would have ended up with blanket bans on development in rural areas that are much more politically sensitive to development.
I’m interested to see how the replacement for Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment works in practice. In principle I like the idea of more actively considering how developments impact areas and communities, but I’d like to know more about how the new Environmental Outcome Reports consider the cumulative effects of development. I’d also like to understand more about how they will work for Development Consent Order applications.
I’m pleased to also see that the government is encouraging digitisation and considering data provision standards for doing so. LPAs that have things like interactive proposals maps, map searches for planning applications and an actual functioning planning application search system make finding information so much easier, and I hope they roll this out to all authorities.
I’m not super convinced that the Infrastructure Levy will do anything noticeably different to the current CIL and S106 system, although I think it’s a good thing that it will be mandatory for each LPA to have its own schedule rather than the current patchwork discretionary system.
What do you think about street votes? And about the approach to encouraging regional spatial planning through combined authorities?
For those interested in what the bill is proposing:
the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities summary of the Bill can be found here
the Bill itself can be found here