Skip to main content

New inquiry: The Planning System

8 October 2020

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched a new inquiry to investigate Government proposals to reform the planning system.

In a White Paper, the Government has set out significant changes to streamline the planning system. Proposals include simplified designations for land usage, including automatic permission in principle for development in some areas, greater use of digital technology in the planning process and a National Design Guide to ensure “high quality development” that reflects “local character and preferences”.

The Committee’s inquiry will build on their previous report on land value capture in 2018. The Climate Assembly jointly commissioned by the Committee made recommendations on local decision-making and the planning system. Both of these will feed into this inquiry.

The inquiry will examine how well the proposed reforms would support the Government’s wider building strategy, including its target to build 300,000 new homes a year, as well as ensuring high quality construction that is fit for purpose. It will also examine how well the new proposals protect existing buildings or localities, and provide mechanisms for local engagement in the planning system.

Chair's comments

Launching the inquiry, Clive Betts MP said:

“The planning process has an important role in meeting a number of challenges that the country currently faces. In finding solutions to the crisis in housing delivery, ailing high streets and boosting regional growth the planning system will be key.

“The Government has set out its intention to implement wide ranging reforms and we must understand the impact these will have. Are they a successful attempt to reduce red tape and make it easier for new homes to be built and town centres transformed? Do they provide local communities an effective avenue to make their voices heard in setting out how their area will look? Is the right balance struck between encouraging growth and protecting our heritage? These are the key questions we will address as we begin out inquiry.”

Call for evidence

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee wants to hear your views. It welcomes submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the terms of reference. More information about how to submit evidence is available here.

The Committee invites evidence on the following issues:

  1. Is the current planning system working as it should do? What changes might need to be made? Are the Government’s proposals the right approach?
  2. In seeking to build 300,000 homes a year, is the greatest obstacle the planning system or the subsequent build-out of properties with permission?
  3. How can the planning system ensure that buildings are beautiful and fit for purpose?
  4. What approach should be used to determine the housing need and requirement of a local authority?
  5. What is the best approach to ensure public engagement in the planning system? What role should modern technology and data play in this?
  6. How can the planning system ensure adequate and reasonable protection for areas and buildings of environmental, historical, and architectural importance?
  7. What changes, if any, are needed to the green belt?
  8. What progress has been made since the Committee’s 2018 report on capturing land value and how might the proposals improve outcomes? What further steps might also be needed?

Further information

Image: Crown Copyright