New homes to get ‘automatic’ planning permission

NEW homes and hospitals will be granted “automatic” permission to be built as part of sweeping planning reforms in England, the housing secretary says.

Robert Jenrick announced a “permission in principle” will be given to developments on land designated “for renewal” to speed-up building.

It comes after the PM pledged £5bn to “build, build, build” to help soften the economic impact of coronavirus.

Shelter has warned against any reforms that lead to “bad-quality” housing. The homeless charity has said 280,000 homes received permission in England between 2011 and 2016 but were never built.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Jenrick said that, under the new rules, land will be designated in one of three categories: for growth, for renewal and for protection.

And he insisted: “We are cutting red tape, but not standards.”

However, James Jamieson, the chair of the Local Government Association, said the idea that planning was a barrier to house building was “a myth”.

“Nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, while more than a million homes given planning permission in the last decade have not yet been built,” he said.

The changes being brought forward this week are expected to only impact England, as national planning policy is devolved to administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Land designated for growth will empower development – new homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices will be allowed automatically,” Mr Jenrick said.

However, he did not specify the criteria for designating land under these proposals , while areas of outstanding natural beauty and the green belt will be protected.

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