Planning for the Future Consultation Response
Cambridge Ahead has responded to Government’s Planning for the Future White Paper. In our response we welcome Government’s ambition to deliver a simpler planning process, accelerate housing delivery and facilitate growth.
However, we believe that there are major proposals within ‘Planning for the Future’ which could have a negative impact on quality of life and undermine Government’s stated objectives, creating burdens and delay within the system whilst wrongly undermining the role of Local Authorities and communities in place-making.
Our response outlines our preferred approach for progressive reform of the planning system:
- Government should bring forward plans for strategic, employment-led planning at the functional economy level. We are concerned that the proposals to simplify Local Plans risk creating a system that is less responsive to regional and local differences and less democratically accountable at the local level. However, Government is right to recognise that reform of the current system is required to streamline planning and ensure an uplift in delivery. Because of the fundamental importance of local leadership, with community and stakeholder input, we believe that an enhanced role for strategic planning is necessary.
- Timeframes for plan-making need to be realistically achievable and plans for additional resources for planning departments brought forward. Proposals for a 30-month statutory timescale to produce the new Local Plans and wholescale digitalisation of the planning system look unworkable without a huge boost in skills and resources within the system.
- Government should reform the current Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), rather than scrapping Section 106 (s106) and CIL and replacing them with a new Infrastructure Levy. This would be a simpler way to capture uplift in land value and maintain the important principle that the planning impact of a specific development should be mitigated.