New online planning resource tested in the UK

September 26, 2013

UK Planning Minister Nick Boles has launched a new national online planning guidance resource for public testing and comment as part of the drive to simplify the planning process.

The existing technical guidance, often complex and repetitive, is catalogued in 230 separate documents and at 7,000 pages is almost impossible for residents and businesses to use effectively.

Boles said the new online national planning guidance will give much needed simplicity and clarity to the planning system, and a user-friendly format which will make planning guidance more accessible and also easier to keep up to date.

Following a review by former MP Lord Taylor, ministers have proposed a new streamlined planning practice that will provide the support for growth and creation of jobs and homes that the country needs.

It is currently in its test mode and up for critique over the next six weeks and none of the current planning practice guidance will be cancelled until the final online guidance is in place and live later in the autumn.

The web pages being tested set out guidance on a range of issues including: a new affordability test for determining how many homes should be built, opening up planning appeal hearings, discouraging councils from introducing a new parking tax on people’s driveways and parking spaces, encouraging more town centre parking spaces and ending aggressive anti-car traffic calming measures like speed bumps, and building housing for older people such as more bungalows.

It also encouraged to help more communities start their own plans, and new local green space guidance to help councils and local communities to plan for open space and protect local green spaces which are special to them.

‘Having stripped away outdated advice, our new user friendly website brings together a simplified set of clear, concise guidance and publishes it altogether in one place. This will make the planning system much easier to navigate for everyone involved,’ Boles explained.

‘The government accepted that the existing guidance needed reform and consolidation. In light of the positive response to this consultation, where 86% of respondents agreed with the recommendations, the government set out in the Budget plans to publish significantly reduced planning guidance, proving much needed simplicity and clarity in line with the recommendations,’ he added.