Plans to speed up and simplify local plans crucial to creating sustainable communities

16 Mar 2016

Policy area: Planning, Sustainability

A series of recommendations that will streamline and speed up the local plan making process, in order to help local authorities meet housing need, has been welcomed by the property industry. 

The British Property Federation (BPF) has welcomed a series of recommendations made by the Local Plan Expert Group, which include simplifying the calculations of housing need and halving the timetable for plan making, and has advised central Government to adopt the suggestions in the Group's report.

The BPF was particularly supportive of a recommendation to better integrate local plans with Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedules, noting that to create sustainable and successful development, Local plans must consider all types of development, not just residential, and the crucial role that high quality infrastructure plays in shaping communities. 

It further welcomed the recommendation that strategic sites should be exempted from general CIL charges, with bespoke strategies should be developed to assist their delivery. 

Local plans are the blueprint for development for a local area, and each local authority in England is expected to have one in place by early 2017. 

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Local plans are at the heart of creating good quality, sustainable development. Far too few local authorities currently have these in place, to the detriment of local communities. We are pleased to see this report identify the key barriers to getting local plans in place and think that Government should very carefully consider these recommendations. By simplifying some of the local plan processes and increasing community engagement, these recommendations are a step in the right direction for every local authority to have in place a sustainable vision for the future.”