The government has launched an online preview of the new streamlined planning guidance set to be rolled out later this year
Launched by planning minister Nick Boles, the ‘user friendly’ web-based tool aims to boost community involvement and bring clarity to the planning system.
It follows a review, led by Liberal Democrat peer Matthew Taylor, to reduce the amount of planning guidance underpinning the National Planning Policy framework.
Launched in October last year, the investigation focussed on streamlining 6,000 pages of practice guidance explaining statutory provisions, planning and the planning system.
The online tool has opened for testing and comment ahead of the lightweight guidance going live in the autumn. Until then then current guidance will remain in place.
Guidance on the website covers a range of issues including:
- a new affordability test for determining how many homes should be built
- opening up planning appeal hearings to be filmed
- discouraging councils from introducing a new parking tax on people’s driveways and parking spaces
- encourage more town centre parking spaces and end aggressive ‘anti-car’ traffic calming measures like speed bumps
- housing for older people - councils should build more bungalows and plan positively for an ageing population
- new neighbourhood planning guidance to help more communities start their own plans
- new local green space guidance to help councils and local communities to plan for open space and protect local green spaces which are special to them
Boles said: ‘Having stripped away outdated advice, our new user friendly website brings together a simplified set of clear, concise guidance and publishes it altogether in one place. This will make the planning system much easier to navigate for everyone involved.
‘Today’s launch follows an external review that looked into streamlining some 7,000 pages of practice guidance which explains statutory provisions, planning and the planning system. A vast amount of the material included very outdated documents – some going back to the 1960s – which have been superseded.
Taylor added: ‘By opening the draft guidance suite to public testing and comment we now have the opportunity to make sure it works and doubtless improve it.
‘I would encourage anyone with an interest in the planning system to use the next 6 weeks while the site is open for comment to submit their feedback to help make the site even better.’
RTPI president Peter Geraghty urged all users of the planning system to test the online portal to ‘ensure it is easy to navigate, and that its works across different platforms and operating systems’.
He said: ‘The web site will have a vital role in future so it is important we help the department develop it at an early stage so that it becomes an essential and effective tool for planners, developers and communities.
‘I would urge other government departments to do likewise with their own advice and guidance relating to planning.’
Visit the online planning guidance portal