DLUHC publishes more details about mini-budget policy to drive growth

The ‘investment zones’ outlined in Friday’s ‘mini-budget’ can include sites that already have outline planning permission, according to guidance published this weekend.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) and the Treasury on Saturday published further details of the policy, which will see a streamlined planning process and reduced tax on specific sites to boost growth. The government said it has been in talks with local authorities and has identified 38 mayoral combined authorities (MCA) and upper tier local authorities (YUTLA) that could set up a zone (see box below).

The guidance said: “Sites may be aligned with existing local growth strategies and transport plans.

“Sites that already have a masterplan, development order or outline permission could be considered by MCAs and UTLAs as a potential Investment Zone, as could sites where planning consents are not yet in place”

However, the government said the zones would need to create additional development, even where the sites have already been given outline approval.

“There is a strong expectation that investment zones will bring forward additional development, and that they bring forward a mix of both commercial and residential development. Both of these will be considered in the expressions of interest assessment process.”

The government said zones will benefit from removed ‘burdensome’ EU requirements, reduced consultation with statutory bodies and a relaxing of “key national and local policy requirements”. It said developer contributions will be focused on essential infrastructure.

Sites could also benefit from reduced tax for a time-limited period, this could include business rates relief and full stamp duty relief on land and buildings.

The government will legislate for powers to create tax and development sites in the investment zones.

It said: “For developments which already have permission, we will work with developers and local planning authorities to ensure planning is not a barrier to the accelerated delivery of these sites”

The guidance comes as DLUHC confirmed it is pressing ahead with its levelling up and regeneration bill, currently going through parliament.

This is despite the government pledge a new Planning and Infrastructure Bill to accelerate priority major infrastructure projects across England. It is proposing to minimise environmental assessments; make consultation requirements “more proportionate” reform habitats and species regulation and increasing flexibility to make changes to a Development Consent Order once it has been submitted

Housing sector figures on Friday called for planning reform across the whole country and not just in specific zones.  

List of authorites to express an interest in investment zones

  • Blackpool Council
  • Bedford Borough Council
  • Central Bedfordshire Council
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Cornwall Council
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Dorset Council
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Essex County Council
  • Greater London Authority
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Hull City Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Leicestershire County Council
  • Liverpool City Region
  • North East Lincolnshire Council
  • North Lincolnshire Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Somerset County Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Southend-on-Sea City Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Stoke-on-Trent City Council
  • Suffolk County Council
  • Sunderland City Council
  • South Yorkshire Combined Authority
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • West of England Combined Authority
  • West Midlands Combined Authority
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority

‘Illustrative examples’ of sites that could become zones

1. Blackpool Airport

2. Blackpool Town Centre

3. Langarth Garden Village, Cornwall

4. Newquay Airport, Cornwall

5. Falmouth Docks, Cornwall

6. Ellesmere Port Industrial Area, Cheshire West & Chester

7. HS2 Interchange, Solihull

8. the site of a proposed battery Gigafactory at Coventry Airport

9. sites in the Black Country

10. sites in Barrow-in-Furness

11. Workington and the Energy Coast, Cumbria

12. sites near Weymouth, Dorset

13. the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation site in Hartlepool

14. the proposed Mayoral Development Corporation site in Middlesbrough

15. Teesside International Airport

16. Ebbsfleet Central

17. the River Hull corridor

18. Charnwood Campus in Leicestershire

19. Plymouth City Centre and Waterfront

20. Ceramic Valley in Stoke-on-Trent

21. Gravity, Somerset

22. Riverside, Sunderland

23. the Northern Spire, Sunderland

24. the International Advanced Manufacturing Park, Sunderland