Local planning authorities: next steps

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As the national voice for local government, the LGA is calling for councils to have the tools, powers and flexibilities required to plan for and deliver the quality homes and places communities need. Rather than overhauling the planning system, building on existing partnerships within the market will lead to longer-term and more sustainable solutions to support local ambitions. 

"deregulating the current planning system and introducing new nationally-prescribed permitted development rights will disempower communities"

Overhauling, or deregulating the current planning system and introducing new nationally-prescribed permitted development rights will disempower communities and local councils and thwart their ability to make decisions based on local knowledge and evidence. Local, inclusive solutions will promote a fair and just social, environmental and economic recovery for all.

To achieve a locally-led planning recovery the LGA is calling for the following overarching changes.

Achieving a locally-led planning recovery

- Properly resource planning departments by allowing them to set their own planning fees. Taxpayers currently subsidise nearly £180 million per annum to cover funding shortfalls.

- Remove nationally set permitted development rights, giving councils and local communities the ability to shape the area they live in.

- Greater access to funding for local infrastructure to ensure the effective delivery of the necessary infrastructure required to support development in a council’s area and across England.

- Support councils to prime the local economy by bringing public investment projects, such as housing, forward. This will also help develop and grow a skills base in the newly emerging green economy and support the Government’s net zero carbon targets. 

- Make some of the temporary COVID-19 planning responses permanent. For example, building on councils’ innovative use of technology to make the system more efficient, transparent, democratic, and support the Government’s digital agenda.

- Support councils to build the 100,000 affordable homes a year needed to provide people with the opportunity to live in safe, secure housing.

- Ensure that new government initiatives do not reduce the general provision of social and affordable rented homes where they are needed. This will ensure that the right mix of homes – to rent and buy – are available and affordable to people that need them.

- Support councils to access the tools needed to become exemplars for using new smart technologies and sustainable construction methods.

- Create a clear path for addressing climate change and the decarbonisation of the planning system by reviewing planning documents, including the NPPF, to ensure consistency against the national net zero target.

- Use green infrastructure to deliver greater resilience, long-term cost savings, environmental outcomes, and grow our green economy.