Planning Reforms: Bath Preservation Trust’s Response

Planning Reforms: Bath Preservation Trust’s Response

The Planning for the Future White Paper (published in August) sets out a number of controversial changes to the planning system including; stripped back local plans, zonal planning, top down housing targets, more permitted developments, scrapping Section 106 agreements and replacing with a national infrastructure levy which can fund affordable housing, design codes and new design code body, a ‘fast track for beauty” and digital planning.

While many of the stated ‘aims’ of the reforms are principles we can support, our understanding of the proposals leads us to believe that they will in many cases make achieving the stated ambitions more difficult, and less democratic. The proposals do not guarantee better outcomes or quality.  We do not believe centralised planning is beneficial to the desired outcomes. We support bottom-up, local housing targets, guidance and policies.  We therefore have serious misgivings about the impact of the Government’s proposals as set out in both the Planning White Paper, and the accompanying consultation on Changes to the Current Planning System. Our major concerns can be summarised as follows:

  • Weakened environmental, heritage and green space protection
  • Loss of local democracy
  • Housing affordability
  • Local Authority resourcing

We believe that there is much that needs to be clarified and a different set of changes is needed in order to maintain a balance between speedy development, better places, and environmental protection. We will be responding to the consultation on the White Paper by the October 29th closing date.

The government’s proposals can be read in full here.

BPT has responded to the Government consultation on Proposed Changes to the Planning System. Our full response is available to read here.