Planning & The Queens Speech – What Next?

Stuart Tym - The Wilkes Partnership Solicitors, Birmingham, Solihull

Prior to the recent “snap election” Stuart Tym, Head of Planning at The Wilkes Partnership gave the manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats consideration in terms of what they mean for the planning system.

On Wed 21 June 2017 The Wilkes Partnership hosted its inaugural Summer Planning Seminar with Francis Taylor Buildings (Craig Howell Williams QC and Stephanie Hall).

The Queens Speech

Of the 27 Bills proposed (BREXIT clearly dominates) there are no key planning announcements. However A High Speed 2 phase 2A Bill is proposed to provide the powers to build the next stage of HS2 from Birmingham to Crewe.

Given the local impact of this to our Birmingham offices The Wilkes Partnership would of course be happy to advise landowners affected by the next phase of HS2.

So, where next?

Energy

It is interesting to note that the DUP manifesto did not contain any planning policies; however it did contain Energy policies – “to obtain a secure and sustainable energy supply for Northern Ireland.”

With Energy in mind the Conservatives would:

• continue to fully back fracking with non-fracking drilling made permitted development; and
• an expert planning function created to assist local planning authorities; and
• major shale decisions brought under the National Planning Regime.

As these must be the more controversial elements of the Conservative Manifesto it is unclear whether it will take these proposals forward. As can be seen below in the Commons Library Briefing Paper.

They also proposed a diverse energy mix with a focus on wind technology (stepping away from large on-shore wind power and promoting offshore technology and that in the remote islands of Scotland).

Housing

All parties agreed that the UK is in the midst of a housing crisis with the Conservatives aiming to deliver roughly 1,000,000 new homes between now and the end of 2020; with a further 500,000 by 2022. 160,000 of which will be built by government on its own land.

Stuart comments that it is questionable whether a “flood the markets” approach will be supported by private sector developers; or whether post BREXIT we have the “in-house” resources to deliver on such a scale. More on this from the British Property Foundation here .

For social housing the Conservatives would only help councils who build high-quality, sustainable and integrated communities. A new step on to the housing ladder would be created in fixed-term social houses, which will be sold privately after 10 – 15 years with the proceeds recycled into further homes.

Stuart comments that given the lack of planning matters in the Queens Speech itself the “road map” as to where we are going and when is highlighted in the Commons Library Briefing Paper.

From this it can be seen that responses to the report submitted by the Community Infrastructure Review Group and the Housing white paper, Fixing our broken housing market  , both published in February 2017, and discussed at the Wilkes Summer Planning Seminar are still expected to be given at the Autumn Budget.

If you require help or advice on any planning related matter please contact Stuart Tym on 0121 233 4333 or via email on stym@wilkes.co.uk.