Nothing earth shattering emerged in the Chancellor’s autumn statement for planning at the coal face. There were a couple of references to planning.
The statement claimed the government has delivered a ‘root and branch reform of the planning system, reducing more than 1,000 pages of guidance to just over 50 and introducing a strong presumption in favour of sustainable development’.
It is true the government pared down its guidance but claiming that as a root and branch reform of the system appears somewhat ambitious.
The statement also mentions the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, which is currently before Parliament.
The main point of interest in the bill for day-to-day planning is the proposed cutting back of the volume of paperwork which applicants have to submit with a planning application. This will have to be ‘reasonable having regard, in particular, to the nature and scale of the proposed development’. Councils will only be able to ask for information if it is ‘reasonable to think that the matter will be a material consideration in the determination of the application’.
Nice if it happens. The difficulty will be the interpretation of ‘reasonable’ by risk-averse councils.