Michael Gove has outlined the most recent planning policy in the United Kingdom.

Michael Gove has outlined the most recent planning policy in the United Kingdom.

Michael Gove has outlined the most recent planning policy in the United Kingdom.

A New Era in Housing Development

In today’s recent address, Michael Gove outlined a comprehensive vision for housing development in the UK, emphasising the importance of beauty, infrastructure, democracy, the environment, and neighbourhood in planning. This approach, aimed at winning back support for new development, holds the promise of a future where communities and aesthetics are at the forefront of housing projects.

Michael Gove Key Takeaways:

  1. Balancing Beauty and Practicality: Gove highlighted the need for housing developments that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing and in keeping with local traditions. Developments like Poundbury, championed by King Charles, stand as examples of combining utility with beauty.
  2. Infrastructure and Community Services: A significant concern addressed was the need for new infrastructure to support housing developments. Gove emphasised that new homes should be accompanied by essential services like GP surgeries, schools, and road improvements to avoid added pressure on existing facilities.
  3. Democratic Control and Environmental Considerations: The importance of local control over development and consideration for environmental impacts were also stressed. This includes protecting greenfields and enhancing biodiversity while ensuring development aligns with community needs and desires.
  4. New Planning Policy Framework (NPPF): Gove discussed the updated NPPF, which asserts the central role of planning professionals in shaping communities. It introduces measures for faster and easier infrastructure delivery and enhanced democratic involvement in the planning process.
  5. Focus on Urban Development: The vision includes a strong emphasis on urban regeneration, leveraging cities’ potential for economic growth, efficient land use, and environmental protection. This strategy includes significant investment in urban areas to drive housing development.
  6. Accountability in Local Authorities: Gove stressed the importance of accountability in local authorities for housing delivery, planning application processing, and decision-making rationality. He also mentioned the publication of league tables to transparently reveal the performance of local planning authorities.
  7. Intervention in Underperforming Areas: In cases of consistent underperformance in plan-making and housing delivery, Gove indicated readiness for government intervention. This includes issuing directions to authorities lacking proper planning and adopting measures to address delays by statutory consultees.
  8. Increased Accountability and Performance Measurement: Planning departments will be subject to more rigorous accountability, with the introduction of league tables to track and publicise their performance. This includes the speed of responding to planning applications, the level of approvals, and delivery against housing targets.
  9. Restrictions on Extension of Time Agreements: The use of extension of time agreements, which have been used to delay planning processes, will be constrained. This includes potentially banning them for household applications and limiting their use throughout the planning process.
  10. Enhanced Resources and Training: Increased funding will be provided to local authority planning services, with a significant boost to the planning skills delivery fund. This aims to enhance the capabilities and resources available to planning departments.
  11. Focus on Sustainable and Beautiful Development: The new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) emphasises the importance of beauty and sensitivity to the existing built environment in planning. Planning departments will be encouraged to adopt design codes that respect the character of different areas.
  12. Incentivising Efficient Plan Adoption: Local authorities with up-to-date plans demonstrating how houses will be built over a 5-year term will receive new protections from speculative development. This incentivises the early adoption of robust plans.
  13. Improvement in Infrastructure Delivery: The NPPF, alongside the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, aims to make the delivery of infrastructure faster and easier, which planning departments will need to incorporate into their processes.
  14. Addressing Underperformance: Action will be taken against planning authorities that have persistently underperformed, including the possibility of government intervention if necessary.
  15. Consultation on New Measures: There will be consultations on various new measures, such as constraining the use of extension of time agreements and other reforms, which will affect how planning departments operate.
  16. Focus on Urban Regeneration and Development: There is a clear shift towards prioritising urban development and regeneration, with planning departments expected to facilitate development in urban areas efficiently.

Michael Gove’s vision for housing development in the UK marks a shift towards a more holistic approach that values aesthetics, community needs, and environmental considerations alongside practical housing needs. By focusing on these core areas, the goal is to create housing developments that are not only functional but also enrich the lives of residents and integrate seamlessly into existing communities.

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