government's agenda said housing and planning minister Keith Hill
Harrogate, Mr Hill outlined the progress being made on all fronts,
and announced the publication of an update report on planning reform
- setting achievements in the last six months to make the planning
system fairer, faster and more efficient.
The minister also announced a timetable for delivering reform of the
planning obligations system. A draft of a revised Circular 1/97,
setting out how an improved system of negotiated planning obligations
will operate, will be published for public consultation in autumn
Mr Hill said:
'The last six months have seen some massive steps forward on the
planning front. We've got the first Planning Act in over a decade,
we've announced 144 bursaries for postgraduate students to study
planning, and we've given£150m to local authorities through
the planning delivery grant.
'We've also published today the timetable for reforming the planning
obligations system. Planning obligations play a vital role in
providing community benefits such as affordable homes, public
transport improvements and open space. It's crucial we have a system
which is fair, fast and delivers.'
Mr Hill also announced a more streamlined approach to the reform of
planning policy. In line with the recommendations of the ODPM select
committee the review and replacement of Planning Policy Guidance
notes (PPGs) with Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) will only take
place as and when necessary in the light of their policy and
strategic significance. He said:
'We've listened to the select committee and agree that we must
concentrate our efforts on revising those parts of planning policy
which will help us deliver thriving, sustainable communities.'
The minister emphasised that reforms to the planning system are all
about delivery. They are helping to take forward the Sustainable
Communities Plan, which has at its core actions to provide more high
quality and affordable, decent homes and to tackle housing market
decline in areas of low demand and abandonment.
The minister added:
'We launched the Sustainable Communities Plan just under 18 months
ago. It is a long-term programme of action. But already we are
beginning to see real change on the ground.
'We have reduced the number of non-decent social homes by 1 million
since 1997. We have doubled investment in affordable housing and
helped over 10,000 key workers to buy their own home in areas where
high prices are affecting recruitment and retention.
'We have reduced the numbers sleeping rough to there lowest ever
recorded, and some 6,000 fewer children are now living in long-term
bed and breakfast accommodation.
'And we are turning the tide on historically low rates of new build
in London and South East - in 2002-02, the numbers of new homes were
up 14% from the year before.
Mr Hill stressed that the government's reforms to the planning system
were part of a package of measures to help deliver more development
of the right type, at the right time, in the right place, meeting the
needs of communities throughout the country.
1. Keith Hill was speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing's
annual conference in Harrogate. His speech is available on the ODPM
website at www.odpm.gov.uk
2. The government is taking forward a major programme of reform to
the planning system to support its drive to create sustainable
communities, promote sustainable development and achieve a better
balance of housing supply and demand. The goal is positive planning
to achieve these objectives. The programme was launched in the
Planning Green paper of December 2001 and the Government's policy
statement on planning reform of July 2002 'Sustainable Communities -
Delivering through Planning'.
3. Four ministerial statements on planning reform - Commencement of
the Planning Act; Progress Report on Planning Reform; Update on
Planning Obligations; Revision of Planning Policy Guidance -
4. The Planning Progress Report June 2004 is published today and
available on the ODPM website. It follows a first progress report
published on 15 December 2003 at the Planning and Productivity
5. The government is continuing to pursue its two-fold approach to
planning obligations reform, as set out in the consultation document
of 6 Nov 2003:
(i) an optional planning charge which developers can opt for instead
of a negotiated agreement
(ii) revised policy on negotiated agreements, to bring policy into
line with existing practice and case law
6. In March, the Barker Review recommended a Planning Gain Supplement
(PGS), with a scaled back system of planning obligations,
concentrating on direct impacts and affordable housing. The
Chancellor has said he will consider the PGS proposal, and give
conclusions towards the end of 2005.
7. Against this background, the government intend to press ahead
immediately with making some much needed changes to the current
system of negotiated agreements through a revised Circular in the
autumn. Work will also continue on the optional planning charge in
order to be ready to respond quickly if the chancellor decided
towards the end of 2005 not to introduce a PGS. The work on charging
options will include some piloting of possible approaches. The
Advisory Group on Planning Obligations will continue to advise Keith
Hill throughout the reform process.
8. In its report on the ODPM Annual Report 2003 the ODPM Select
Committee gave consideration to the programme for replacing Planning
Policy Guidance notes, which set out national policies on issues such
as planning for housing, transport etc, by more succinct Planning
Policy Statements. The committee recommended (para 25):
'The failure to deliver on commitments to reform the planning system
by issuing revised guidance notes, has led to uncertainty and delays
in planning decisions because of impending revisions to policies. We
recommend that the department redoubles its effort to complete the
revision of national planning policy, and supporting good practice
advice, where necessary, by July 2005. The ODPM would do well
formally to withdraw its stated intention to revise the less
controversial PPG notes.'
9. The office will therefore treat as a priority the review of the
following PPGs: PPG1 (General Policies and Principles), PPG3
(Housing), PPG4 (Economic Development), PPG6 (Town Centres), PPG7
(Countryside), PPG9 (Nature Conservation/ Biodiversity), PPG10
(Planning and Waste Management), PPG11 (Regional Planning), PPG12
(Development Plans), PPG 22 (Renewable Energy), PPG 23 (Planning and
Pollution) and PPG25 (Development and Flood Risk). Consultation has
already taken place or is currently underway on several of these
documents. The revision or replacement as PPSs, of these PPGs will be
completed by early 2005. Any further revisions to PPG3 (Housing) to
take account of the recommendations of the Barker review of housing
supply will be completed later in 2005.
10. About the Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit: The
Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit will be the largest of its
kind in the UK. With 2,000 delegates attending from the UK, Europe
and the wider world to take part in this unique forum. It will set a
vision for the future and create opportunities for both developing
and sharing best practice as well as provide a platform to work with
experts from the public, voluntary and private sectors.
The summit embraces national, regional and local influences and
offers inspiring keynote presentations, thought provoking plenaries,
workshops and expert master-classes. There will also be site visits,
fringe events, an extensive vibrant exhibition and a Gala dinner,
which will host the Deputy Prime Ministers Awards for Sustainable
For further information log onto to www.odpm.gov.uk/summit
10. About the ODPM Awards for Sustainable Communities: Nominations
for the award will be considered by a panel of independent judges
with a wide level of expertise in regeneration matters. The whole
process will be administered, on behalf of the ODPM, by BURA, whose
objective is the promotion of best practice in urban regeneration.
Further information on and nomination forms for the award can be
obtained by logging onto www.odpm.gov.uk/awards Alternatively you can
contact BURA. Telephone Tara Burton or Vicki Willis on 020 7539 4030.
Fax 020 7404 9614. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the 2003 Awards can be found at: