Box welcome planning law shake-up

Box Architects director Ken Earl has urged the construction industry to get behind the government’s sweeping reforms to the planning laws.

He says plans to force councils to zone land for growth, protection or renewal (with land labelled for ‘growth’ getting automatic outline planning permission) are welcome and exciting.

The biggest shake-up in planning laws for 70 years will cut red tape and simplify planning for housing. Supporters of the reforms, which were outlined in the Queen’s Speech, say they will help address the UK’s housing crisis and encourage innovation – particularly when it comes to modern methods of construction.

“A robust and challenging planning regime is essential to the delivery of a sustainable society but the current system is outdated and often feels like an obstruction rather than an aid,” said Ken, who believes that while ‘permitted development’ rules provides certainty, they are too easily exploited.

“Permitted development can result in the occasional low-quality development that overshadows the numerous successful ones, and undermines our own position as experienced and responsible architects delivering quality accommodation.

“So, a new system where clarity of purpose, scale and development can be easily understood from the outset – plus a clearly defined set of rules that cover such things as minimum space standards, quality of aesthetic, social benefit and environmental impact, and ensure sustainable quality development every time – is a fantastic aspiration, and one that we as an industry should get behind and promote.”

The new Planning Bill is set to be brought before parliament later this year.

“A robust and challenging planning regime is essential to the delivery of a sustainable society.”

Ken Earl, Director, Box Architects