District councils have outlined a series of reforms aimed at simplifying the planning system and helping to realise Government ambitions for economic growth.
Recent proposals submitted in evidence by the District Councils’ Network (DCN) to the Local Plans Expert Group contain a raft of measures for improving the local plan system, including:
- a staged-plan examination;
- strategic plans across housing market areas;
- slimmed-down plans and more protection to councils with well advanced plans from ‘5-year supply’ appeals.
The DCN’s evidence submission to the Local Plans Expert Group supports:
- the delivery of quicker and cheaper Local Plans;
- improved strategic planning across functional economic/ strategic housing market areas;
- incentivising plan-making;
- improving links between local growth and infrastructure;
- making plans shorter and easier to understand;
- reducing risks and costs for communities, developers and all tiers of government.
The submission acknowledges that addressing the need for growth is a long-term issue, but argues the present regime has become too characterised by what is termed ‘planning by appeal’. The DCN believes it is in the interests of all parties to provide councils with a better framework to shift the emphasis towards ‘plan-led’ development – which would lead to more coordinated growth with better supporting infrastructure.