Ministers must do more to provide certainty around planning

Paul Smith CROP

With planning consents at an all-time low government must make it easier for housebuilders to map out development, argues Paul Smith 

Uncertainty is a key feature of the planning system. The discretionary principle at its heart is its biggest strength but also its biggest weakness. The system can flex in the face of difficult challenges but can be unpredictable for developers and local communities.

When a planning application is submitted, the outcome cannot be guaranteed. It is difficult to predict how the plethora of consultees will respond and what planning gain the council will request. Every application is a complex balancing act between competing demands and, even if the council is supportive in principle, there is no guarantee that they will think an application has found the right equilibrium point.

New requirements, like nutrient neutrality, can appear as if from nowhere and derail applications that have been years in preparation.

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