Automatic planning permission for brownfield land

Words: Laura Edgar

New policy announced by the government today will see automatic planning permission granted on brownfield sites in an attempt to raise the productivity of the economy.

The new document, Fixing The Foundations: Creating A More Prosperous Nation (pdf), also includes the right for major infrastructure that features housing elements to be submitted to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime.

Chancellor George Osborne and business secretary Sajid Javid unveiled the second half to Wednesday's Budget today in Birmingham.

Osborne said he wants residents in London to be able to build extra storeys on their properties without planning approval from their local council.

Speaking at the launch, Javid said a new "zonal system" will give automatic planning permission for all suitable brownfield sites.

He added: "If a council fails to produce a suitable local plan, we'll have it done it for them."

Local authorities will also be penalised if they make 50 per cent or fewer planning decisions on time.

Fixing The Foundations also states that the government will deliver its commitment to build 200,000 Starter Homes by 2020. Local authorities will be required to "plan proactively" for their delivery.

The mayors of London and Manchester will be given more powers over land, among other devolution powers, while the document sets out stronger compulsory purchase order powers to bring forward brownfield land.

"Unlike previous governments, we're going to grasp the nettle of airport capacity in the south-east, taking a decision by the end of the year" - Sajid Javid

At the launch, Javid said transport links are vital to "any serious, growing economy."

Therefore, he said, over the next five years, the government will "invest £100 billion in infrastructure."

This investment includes a roads fund, funded, financed from Vehicle Exercise Duty, getting the "rail investment programme back onto a sustainable footing" and change the way public money is provided so that "Network Rail focuses firmly on the needs of train operators and passengers," Javid said.

Fixing the Foundations also states that the government will introduce a new approach to station redevelopment and land sales on the rail network. It will establishe a dedicated body that will focus on "pursuing opportunities to realised value from publi land and property assets in the rail network." This, the document says, will maximise benefit to local communities as well as reduce the burden of public debt.