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Major reform of planning unveiled

A major overhaul of planning rules will "deliver the homes the country needs," says the government.

The review of the National Planning Policy Framework was launched on Monday (5 March).

The government says more must be done to deliver 300,000 new homes annually by the mid-20202.

It says the review will maximise the use of land, strengthen protections for the Green Belt and put a greater emphasis on converting planning permissions into homes.

The Rural Services Network has long campaigned for more affordable homes in the countryside.

More planning permissions need to be fast tracked into homes for a generation of first time buyers locked out of the housing market, says the government.

    Housing needs

At the same time, an increasing older generation needs the right homes designed to their needs.

The review is the first major overhaul to the National Planning Policy Framework in six years.

It seeks to provide a comprehensive approach for planners, developers and councils to build more homes, more quickly, in the right places.

Councils and developers will now be required to work with community groups to ensure those affected by new developments will have a say on how they look and feel.

Local authorities will have a new housing delivery test focused on driving up the numbers of homes actually delivered in their area, rather than numbers planned for.

    Affordable housing

Developers will also be held to account for delivering the commitments, including affordable housing and the infrastructure needed to support communities.

Local authorities will be encouraged to work together and continue to close the gap between planning permissions granted and homes built.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid, said: "Reforming the planning system is the crucial next step to building the homes the country needs.

"This government is determined to fix the broken housing market and restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation.

"There is no silver bullet to this problem but we’re re-writing the rules on planning so we can take action on all fronts."

    Wider package

The planning reform package is part of a wider package of housing reforms.

It builds on the recent £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to help unlock new homes in areas with the greatest housing need.

The government has also allocated £866m to 133 council-led projects to fund key local infrastructure.

These include new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work, all essential ahead of building the homes.

The full set of consultation documents is available here. The consultation will run until Thursday 10 May.

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