A very short guide to planning reform

Think tank: Centre for Cities

Author(s): Anthony Breach

December 1, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Cities looks at the most frequently asked questions on planning reform.

This report brings together answers to the most frequently asked questions on planning reform and what actions local and national government should be taking to tackle the root cause of the housing crisis and to increase economic growth across the country. Planning reform is a package of proposed changes that have the aim of increasing certainty for people applying for planning permission to build new homes and commercial buildings. The Levelling Up White Paper places planning reform within the mission to improve homeownership and housing quality. It follows the Planning White Paper from 2020 in identifying problems with affordability and homelessness that are deepest in London and the South East of England and urban areas more broadly. Planning reform in the Levelling Up White Paper aims to achieve simpler and shorter local plans for England that are easier for local authorities to adopt, a greater role for design codes, and more digital planning to make the process more map-based, all of which (among other changes) will improve the certainty of the planning process. Centre for Cities has previously set out a proposal for planning reform that would replace the current discretionary planning system with a new flexible zoning system.