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17.03.16

New measures to speed up planning process in Budget

The planning system will become more streamlined under new measures announced in yesterday’s Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne promised measures to speed up planning applications, including a more zonal planning approach, where local authorities use their local plans to signal their development strategy to reduce uncertainty about whether plans will go ahead, measures to ensure the delivery of local plans by 2017 and a consultation on options for increasing transparency in the planning market.

The government also promised to legislate to make it easier for local authorities to work together to create new garden towns, consult on a second wave of compulsory purchase order reforms and provide technical support on 1,500 to 10,000 home garden towns and villages.

Osborne said: “In every international survey of our country, our failure for a generation to build new housing and new transport has been identified as a major problem. But we are the builders.”

The Budget also contains measures to prepare for the 5G mobile network, including reducing planning restrictions for telecoms infrastructure and allowing taller ground masts to be built.

Cllr Neil Clarke MBE, chairman of the District Councils’ Network (DCN), said: “The vital role played by districts in supporting economic and housing growth is well-understood and DCN supports the clear link the chancellor has made between business growth, increased housing and investment in infrastructure.”

Other measures in the Budget include raising the business rates relief threshold and new devolution deals.

Four-fifths of local councils warned recently that the government’s new Starter Homes initiative will not address their need for affordable housing.

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