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Labour to seek 'root and branch' reform of planning system

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A new commission aims to deliver a “radical”, “root and branch” review of the planning system that will take influence and input from the recently published Raynsford Review.

The Labour Planning Commission, headed by shadow planning minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, intends to transform the planning system by shaping the party’s future policy.

Attendees at the commission’s launch at the Labour party conference in Liverpool yesterday heard how stakeholders want to rewrite the national planning policy framework and overturn several flagship Conservative policies, including scrapping permitted development rights which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said: “Our planning system isn’t fit for purpose. Good planning is about communities having a meaningful say in the process. We require a step-change from planning being something that happens to communities to it happening with them.”

The review will take input from a large group of experts and industry stakeholders, including the private sector, to formulate a planning policy that will involve communities. The commission team will hold nine stakeholder events across the country to feed into their review.

Ms Blackman-Woods said the review would look for a “root and branch review” of the planning system, in terms that were similarly used by former housing minister Nick Raynsford.

LGC understands that Mr Raynsford will be feeding in to the review after his final report is published on November 20.

Some of the main policy areas covered at the commission launch included the abolishment of permitted development rights for industrial projects and more stringent rules for homes in multiple occupation.

Shadow housing minister John Healey is expected to say today that a future Labour government would legislate for “new renters rights to control costs, improve conditions and increase security”.

The launch heard numerous stories from planning officers of numerous homes in multiple occupation applications that were turned down by planning authorities due to poor living conditions, only to later be overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.

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