big ben london autumn statement

No planning policy announcements until after general election

While the UK is in ‘purdah’ until 12th December, no major policy announcements can be made by ministers, meaning delays to promises made by the housing department.

Several planning policy announcements, including the delivery test to try to ensure local authorities not only plan sufficient new homes, but actually build them, have now been shelved until after the general election on the 12th December.

Esther McVey, housing and planning minister, had stated in last year’s revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that the results for this year’s delivery test would be released in November 2019.

Delivery test delayed

Introduced last July, the delivery test required local authorities who failed to deliver at least 95% of their housing quota to come up with an action plan to solve the shortfall.

Authorities building under 85% are expected to identify a “buffer” of 20% more housing sites to add to their housing plan, while those delivering less than 45% face the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) spokesperson confirmed that the housing delivery test, though based on existing policy, would be subject to the same purdah rules and would also be delayed until a new government is formed after the election.

Future changes for UK planning system

The white paper was scheduled to appear in November proposing some significant changes to the UK planning system: including relaxing the rules for residential extensions for building upwards; demolishing offices to create new housing; and higher application fees with the right to a refund if the local council is too slow making a decision on a planning application.

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report was due to be submitted to the government by the end of this year.

The MHCLG spokesperson has confirmed that according to the ‘purdah’ rules which prevent government departments making any political statements during an election campaign, the Accelerated Planning White Paper, the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report on the importance of quality development design and the Environment Bill, are all now on hold until after the general election.

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