Draft legislation outlining a streamlining of planning procedures, published yesterday by the UK government, has received warm backing from industry professionals.
Officially unveiled by Planning Minister Greg Clark, the National Planning Policy Framework attempts to strip out much of the bureaucracy behind construction by cutting national policy from over 1,000 pages to just 52 pages.
The coalition government has made cutting red tape one of its priorities since coming to power last year and Clark admitted that “clarity in planning has become lost in translation”.
“National planning policy and central government guidance has become so bloated that it now contains more words than the complete works of Shakespeare, making it impenetrable to ordinary people,” the minister continued.
“We need a simpler, swifter system that is easier to understand and where you don’t need to pay for a lawyer to navigate your way around.”
Along with simplifying the regulatory process, the draft legislation also allows communities greater protection rights over natural and historic environments, including new protection for peat bogs and against light pollution.
A consultation process will now begin over the proposed policy but initial feedback from leading property professionals will reassure government that it is on the right track.
Land Securities CEO Francis Salway called the plans “refreshing” and “concise”, whilst Chris Griggs, CEO of British Land, welcomed the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Liz Peace, CEO of the British Property Federation, added: “Planning policy should be streamlined, succinct and to the point if it is to deliver the growth and sustainable development that this country needs.
“We understand that the new draft framework follows closely the version submitted by the Practitioners Advisory Group which fully incorporated these principles.
“On that basis we will have no problem in giving the framework our ringing endorsement.”