The Daily Telegraph understands that the Government was considering moving responsibility for some major developments from councils to the Housing Secretary [Homes England’s £3bn West Ifield development from Horsham District Council ? – Ed].

“Ministers believed the Prime Minister would include the proposals in a white paper later this year, and had expected him to reference them in a major speech next week on rebuilding Britain after the coronavirus downturn.

“However, after days of revelations about Mr Jenrick’s relationship with the property developer and Tory donor Richard Desmond, No. 10 said the proposals would not be in the speech and are ‘not our policy’.

“Downing Street denied last night [June 25 2020 – Ed] that there was any link between the Desmond controversy and the decision not to take the proposals forward.

“Multiple sources told The Daily Telegraph that government planning advisers had advocated a system of development corporations, which would be set up by the Housing Secretary, and would have the power to take decisions on planning that would normally be taken by local authorities.

“The development corporations would be able to buy land with taxpayers’ money, grant planning permission to build on it, then sell the land to developers at a profit. All money raised would be used for public benefits by building schools, roads or other infrastructure. The development corporations would also have control over what developers could and could not build. It would have given the Housing Secretary huge power because it effectively bypasses councils. However, No. 10 sources said it would not happen.

“Boris Johnson had also studied plans to make it easier for the Government to redesignate green belt land for development. Building on greenbelt could help the Prime Minister hit his target of 300,000 new homes a year, but moves to allow building on green belt have proved unpopular with grassroots Tories, and Downing Street said this, too, was now ‘not policy’ and would not be in his speech.

“A Downing Street source denied the proposals had been considered by No. 10 and said: ‘These claims are untrue’”




Proposal 5: Areas identified as Growth areas (suitable for substantial
development) would automatically be granted outline planning
permission for the principle of development, while automatic approvals
would also be available for pre-established development types in other
areas suitable for building.

There will therefore be no need to submit a further planning application to test whether the
site can be approved. Where the Local Plan has identified land for development, planning
decisions should focus on resolving outstanding issues – not the principle of development.

In areas suitable for substantial development (Growth areas) an outline permission for the
principle of development would be conferred by adoption of the Local Plan. Further details
would be agreed and full permission achieved through streamlined and faster consent
routes which focus on securing good design and addressing site-specific technical issues.

Detailed planning permission could be secured in one of three ways:
• a reformed reserved matters process for agreeing the issues which remain outstanding;
• a Local Development Order prepared by the local planning authority for the development
which could be prepared in parallel with the Local Plan and be linked to a master plan and
design codes; or
• for exceptionally large sites such as a new town where there are often land assembly and
planning challenges, we also want to explore whether a Development Consent Order
under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime could be an appropriate
route to secure consents.

Similarly, we will consider how the planning powers for
Development Corporations can be reformed to reflect this new framework.

In areas suitable for development (Renewal areas), there would be a general presumption in
favour of development established in legislation (achieved by strengthening the emphasis on
taking a plan-led approach, with plans reflecting the general appropriateness of these areas
for development). Consent for development would be granted in one of three ways:

• for pre-specified forms of development such as the redevelopment of certain building
types, through a new permission route which gives an automatic consent if the scheme
meets design and other prior approval requirements (as discussed further under the
fast-track to beauty proposals set out under Pillar Two);
• for other types of development, a faster planning application process where a planning
application for the development would be determined in the context of the Local Plan
description, for what development the area or site is appropriate for, and with reference
to the National Planning Policy Framework; or
• a Local or Neighbourhood Development Order.

In both the Growth and Renewal areas it would still be possible for a proposal which is
different to the plan to come forward (if, for example, local circumstances had changed
suddenly, or an unanticipated opportunity arose), but this would require a specific planning
application. We expect this to be the exception rather than the rule: to improve certainty in
the system, it will be important for everyone to have confidence that the plan will be the
basis for decisions, and so we intend to strengthen the emphasis on a plan-led approach in
legislation (alongside giving appropriate status to national planning policy for general
development management matters).

34 | Planning For The Future
In areas where development is restricted (Protected areas) any development proposals would
come forward as now through planning applications being made to the local authority (except
where they are subject to permitted development rights or development orders), and judged
against policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

We will consider the most effective means for neighbours and other interested parties to
address any issues of concern where, under this system, the principle of development has
been established leaving only detailed matters to be resolved.

Separate to these reforms, we also intend to consolidate other existing routes to permission
which have accumulated over time, including simplified planning zones, enterprise zones and
brownfield land registers.

Planning For The Future | 35


9(a). Do you agree that there should be automatic outline permission
for areas for substantial development (Growth areas) with faster
routes for detailed consent?
[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

9(b). Do you agree with our proposals above for the consent
arrangements for Renewal and Protected areas?
[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

9(c). Do you think there is a case for allowing new settlements
to be brought forward under the Nationally Significant
Infrastructure Projects regime?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

The route to full planning permission should
follow clearly and directly from the designation
made in the Local Plan.