1st March 2023

Mr Gove’s planning changes won’t speed up homes delivery

Michael Gove’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will do little to speed up the planning process, says Cora’s Head of Planning and Strategic Land, Robbie Locke.

A consultation into changes to the planning system ends today (Thursday 2nd March), with Mr Gove recently setting out his vision for levelling up housing in his National Planning Policy Framework prospectus.

The proposed changes would see more sway given to local authorities on planning issues, penalties for developers who delay building work and incentives for brownfield development.

However, Mr Locke says this won’t help speed up the planning process and get more homes built.

“The idea of levelling up was to boost housing supply – this was the government’s vision,” he said.

“After the 2009 recession, the government was clear that they planned to build their way out of the economic situation.

“They are aiming to build 300,000 homes a year but the highest they have achieved in recent years remains below 200,000.

“This latest version of the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill will have a significant effect on housing supply, but in stark contrast to the government’s stated intentions of boosting housing delivery.

“It is clear that other motivations, particularly those related to appeasing local constituents, has come at the expense of the provision of new homes.”

Mr Locke said the government needs to significantly improve the support provided to councils in terms of their resources.

“All too often, Councils are understaffed and overworked and simply cannot process the volume of applications required to achieve the government’s target of 300,000 homes per year.

“They need to encourage planners back to local authority planning departments, especially those with existing experience,” he said.

“Planning is a complex process that requires knowledge across a range of disciplines, developed over time.

“It is positive that the government are looking at ways to improve the planning process and to get more homes built.

“But in their current form, I feel Mr Gove’s plans will fall significantly short of their intended target.

“I would like to see the reintroduction of regional planning, circumventing local politics and providing a comprehensive approach to delivering homes, infrastructure and jobs.

“Unfortunately, the current proposals will create greater uncertainty in both the creation of Development Plans, and the determination of planning applications.”

The consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework concludes today, March 2, and then a report into the findings will be published.

Cora is a Northamptonshire-based house builder, with ongoing sites in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Market Harborough in Leicestershire and Redhill in Nottinghamshire, that puts sustainability at the heart of everything they do.

It’s goal is to build excellent quality, energy efficient and low maintenance homes set within landscapes that support biodiversity, helping to create climate-resilient neighbourhoods that promote the health, happiness and well-being of all those who live in them.

For more information on Cora and its mission, see here: