Changes to the Current Planning System



Changes to the Current Planning System Consultation

Suggested answers to 35 questions within consultation document


 Q1: Do you agree that planning practice guidance should be amended to specify that the appropriate baseline for the standard method is whichever is the higher of the level of 0.5% of housing stock in each local authority area OR the latest household projections averaged over a 10-year period?

 No. Both housing stock and housing projections are not representative of housing need. Referring just to housing stock only reinforces the distribution of existing pattern of development and using household projections will reinforce recent trends.

For example, Cheshire East has recently seen high levels of housebuilding to catch up after years of low numbers, this high level would lead us to having a high requirement for the future.


Q2: In the stock element of the baseline, do you agree that 0.5% of existing stock for the standard method is appropriate? If not, please explain why.

 No please see above


Q3: Do you agree that using the workplace-based median house price to median earnings ratio from the most recent year for which data is available to adjust the standard method’s baseline is appropriate? If not, please explain why.

 No. Affordability should be based on lower quartile affordability which will reflect affordability for those who have difficulty accessing the housing market. Residence based earnings is also more relevant to the issues of affordability, as workplace based earnings fails to recognise the changing nature of employment for example flexible working from home.


 Q4: Do you agree that incorporating an adjustment for the change of affordability over 10 years is a positive way to look at whether affordability has improved? If not, please explain why.

 No.10 years is too distant from the present.


Q5: Do you agree that affordability is given an appropriate weighting within the standard method? If not, please explain why.

 No. There are 2 problems with the proposed weight of affordability standard method, affordability doesn’t respond proportionality to the scale of housebuilding and the double adjustment for affordability within the formula. Building a greater number of homes does not improve affordability and there is no evidence that it does. The government should move away from the policy of building more to address affordability and should focus on delivering innovative housing through local authorities and other agencies.


Q6: Authorities which are already at the second stage of the strategic plan consultation process (Regulation 19), which should be given 6 months to submit their plan to the Planning Inspectorate for examination?

 No, it is concerning that this document doesn’t state whether the changed method will be applied immediately to calculations of delivering housing land supply, many local authorities could move from being able to demonstrate a deliverable land supply to one where they cannot.


Q7: Authorities close to publishing their second stage consultation (Regulation 19), which should be given 3 months from the publication date of the revised guidance to publish their Regulation 19 plan, and a further 6 months to submit their plan to the Planning Inspectorate?

 If not, please explain why. Are there particular circumstances which need to be catered for?

 No see  answer to Q6 above


Q8: The Government is proposing policy compliant planning applications will deliver a minimum of 25% of onsite affordable housing as First Homes, and a minimum of 25% of offsite contributions towards First Homes where appropriate. Which do you think is the most appropriate option for the remaining 75% of affordable housing secured through developer contributions? Please provide reasons and / or evidence for your views (if possible):

 i) Prioritising the replacement of affordable home ownership tenures, and delivering rental tenures in the ratio set out in the local plan policy.

ii) Negotiation between a local authority and developer.

iii) Other (please specify)

 iii) Other – requiring a minimum of 25% of any affordable housing provision to be met by First Homes will reduce the housing options for those households in greatest needs. Assessment of need should be assessed at local level

 With regards to current exemptions from delivery of affordable home ownership products:


Q9: Should the existing exemptions from the requirement for affordable home ownership products (e.g. for build to rent) also apply to apply to this First Homes requirement?



Q10: Are any existing exemptions not required? If not, please set out which exemptions and why.

No , see answer to Q9


Q11: Are any other exemptions needed? If so, please provide reasons and /or evidence for your views.

No additional exemptions are required but the wording “unless this would …. significantly prejudice the ability to meet the identified housing needs of specific groups “should be retained.


Q12: Do you agree with the proposed approach to transitional arrangements set out above?

Yes, but local authorities should have the options of reviewing tenure mix when advice on the mix has already been given


Q13: Do you agree with the proposed approach to different levels of discount?



Q14: Do you agree with the approach of allowing a small proportion of market housing on First Homes exception sites, in order to ensure site viability?

  No, local authorities should be able to make the decision based on local need and affordability.


Q15: Do you agree with the removal of the site size threshold set out in the National Planning Policy Framework?

 No Removal of a threshold limit could allow for substantial developments to come forward without any reference to local plan policy.


Q16: Do you agree that the First Homes exception sites policy should not apply in designated rural areas?



For each of these questions, please provide reasons and / or evidence for your views (if possible):


Q17: Do you agree with the proposed approach to raise the small sites threshold for a time-limited period?

(see question 18 for comments on level of threshold)


No. There remains a huge and overwhelming need for affordable homes which are already difficult to secure so any reduction is unacceptable.


Q18: What is the appropriate level of small sites threshold?

i) Up to 40 homes

ii) Up to 50 homes

iii) Other (please specify)


iii) There should be no small site threshold.


Q19: Do you agree with the proposed approach to the site size threshold?

 No local authorities should not be prevented by national policy from seeking contributions to affordable housing.


Q20: Do you agree with linking the time-limited period to economic recovery and raising the threshold for an initial period of 18 months?

 No see answer to Q19 above.


Q21: Do you agree with the proposed approach to minimising threshold effects?

 No see answer to Q19 above.



Q22: Do you agree with the Government’s proposed approach to setting thresholds in rural areas?

 No there should be no distinction between rural and urban areas.



Q23: Are there any other ways in which the Government can support SME builders to deliver new homes during the economic recovery period?

 The planning system should not be the means to support SME builders.


Q24: Do you agree that the new Permission in Principle should remove the restriction on major development?

 No, Permission in Principle has no clear advantages over traditional routes to development.



Q25: Should the new Permission in Principle for major development set any limit on the amount of commercial development (providing housing still occupies the majority of the floorspace of the overall scheme)? Please provide any comments in support of your views.

 Yes, if it were to go ahead, as 20-25% proportion of the total development




 No. The minimal information submitted at PiP stage will not be sufficient to make decisions for major developments and the timescales are too short for adequate assessment


Q27: Should there be an additional height parameter for Permission in Principle? Please provide comments in support of your views.

 The issue of height shows the difficulties with using PiP process for major developments. Height as a key determinate of site development cannot be dealt with in the five week timescale


Q28: Do you agree that publicity arrangements for Permission in Principle by application should be extended for large developments? If so, should local planning authorities be:

 i) required to publish a notice in a local newspaper?

ii) subject to a general requirement to publicise the application or

iii) both?

iv) disagree

 If you disagree, please state your reasons.


Option ii)


 Q29: Do you agree with our proposal for a banded fee structure based on a flat fee per hectarage, with a maximum fee cap?

 No as it cannot reflect the complexity of consideration of a proposal


Q30: What level of flat fee do you consider appropriate, and why?

The fee should avoid creating an incentive for using PiP approach rather than outline when outline is the most appropriate approach


Q31: Do you agree that any brownfield site that is granted Permission in Principle through the application process should be included in Part 2 of the Brownfield Land Register? If you disagree, please state why.




Q32: What guidance would help support applicants and local planning authorities to make decisions about Permission in Principle? Where possible, please set out any areas of guidance you consider are currently lacking and would assist stakeholders.

Guidance isn’t the issue, the issue is that with PiP is that there isn’t enough information at the application phase to justify the location, land use, amount of development or transport access.


Q33: What costs and benefits do you envisage the proposed scheme would cause? Where you have identified drawbacks, how might these be overcome?

5 week timescale isn’t enough to access information requirements for major schemes and without greater information it will often not be possible to agree to the principle of development.


Q34: To what extent do you consider landowners and developers are likely to use the proposed measure? Please provide evidence where possible.

There is no evidence that PiP has any benefits over the traditional system and introducing it would increase uncertainty for all due to lack of information.


Q35: In light of the proposals set out in this consultation, are there any direct or indirect impacts in terms of eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations on people who share characteristics protected under the Public Sector Equality Duty?

If so, please specify the proposal and explain the impact. If there is an impact – are there any actions which the department could take to mitigate that impact?