Planning overhaul to be watered down

The Government’s plans to overhaul planning laws are set to be drastically watered down to appease Conservative MPs and voters, according to a recent report.

According to a report from the Times, the plans, which included a zonal system to help address the housing crisis, are likely to be largely abandoned, due to a backlash from Conservative MPs and their southern voting base.

The planned changes were controversial when first announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last year, with widespread concerns over the easing of the planning restrictions for new homes, and a reduction in residents’ powers to object to new developments.

Some however deemed the changes a step in the right direction, with the housebuilding sector currently falling behind on its 300,000 homes a year target. Concerns have also been expressed that the system is outdated, having been in use for over 75 years.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has refused to comment on what it called the “speculation” in the Times report, saying that a response to its consultation on the plans is expected “in due course.”

Colin Brown, head of planning and development at Carter Jonas commented: “If the latest reports are correct, it seems proposals that were supposed to be unlike anything we have seen since the second world war are to be forfeited to appease political dissent.”

He added: “This cannot be what the Government had in mind when it published its vision in Planning for the Future, only last August.”