Radical reforms for UK planning system
Published: 30 Jun 2020

Boris Johnson has signalled there could be radical changes to the planning system as part of Project Speed to get the country building again after the COVID-19 crisis.

Vacant buildings will be able to be converted into homes by developers without the need for planning permission under new regulations. Buildings that can be converted include existing commercial properties and newly vacated shops. Buildings that will not be included are those seen as essential to the local community such as libraries, pubs and village shops.

It is hoped that the new rules will come into effect by September, with Downing Street claiming they are the "most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War".

Other reforms mentioned include developers being able to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes and a fast track approval process will also allow property owners to build additional space above their properties.

Johnson claims the UK's planning system causes delays in building homes and has suggested that the UK is trailing far behind its European counterparts when it comes to building homes at pace.

By moving away from building homes in new locations, and using old buildings not currently in use instead, the Government is hoping to ease pressure on greenbelt land.

The announcement of new changes is followed by an economic statement from chancellor Rishi Sunak.


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