Brandon Lewis launches expert panel to speed up development

// HA News

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis today launched a new group of experts to help streamline the local plan-making process.

The 8-strong panel will consider how it can be simplified with the aim of slashing the amount of time it takes for local authorities to get them in place.

This will provide greater certainty to communities regarding plans for new homes and infrastructure in their area, while speeding up the planning process so developers can get on site quicker.

Members include:

  • Chair John Rhodes of planning consultants Quod
  • Adrian Penfold from developers British Land
  • Richard Harwood QC from legal firm 39 Essex Chambers
  • Councillor Toby Elliott from Swindon Borough Council
  • Keith Holland, a retired Senior Planning Inspector
  • Liz Peace, formerly of the British Property Federation
  • John Howell MP, member for Henley
  • Derek Stebbing, Local Authority Plans Manager for Chelmsford City Council

Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said “Our planning reforms have caught the imagination of communities across the country, allowing them to bring forward developments that are a real benefit to local people.”

“However, while many have seized this opportunity, it’s fair to say the process of getting Local Plans in place can sometimes be lengthy and complicated.”

“That’s why we’ve brought together this panel of experts to help look at ways to streamline the process. Their first-class advice will help councils push on and deliver the homes and infrastructure that their communities need.”

Local Plans give communities more say in how their area will develop from the amount of housing they need to the infrastructure that has to be put in place to help them thrive.

The government launched a radical reform of the planning system in 2012, reducing the amount of policy from more than 1,000 pages to just 52 and putting Local Plans at the heart of the system.

In total, 276 local authorities have published Local Plans to date with 216 adopted so far. However, that means more than a third of local planning authorities have yet to adopt plans.

Today’s new group includes representatives from a range of backgrounds, including local authorities, developers, the legal industry and the Planning Inspectorate.

Because plan-making involves a wide range of considerations, the remit of the group will be broad and cover any aspect of the Local Plan-making process that they feel is relevant, calling on experts in the field as they see fit. They are due to report back in the New Year.

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