Gove’s simplification of plan-making won’t remove political barriers to development

Paul Smith CROP

The housing secretary this week announced proposals to make the local plan system more simple. However, Paul Smith argues the problems go beyond technical processes.

Our plan-making process is broken. England’s planning system is supposed to be plan-led, with every local authority having an up-to-date development plan to guide development for the next 15 years. In reality, that is rarely the case.

New research for the Land Promoters and Developers Federation has shown that only a third of councils have an up-to-date plan – and just 22% will do so by the end of 2025. The number of new local plans coming into force has fallen for each of the last six years.

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