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Pause to planning reforms will lead to hiatus in housebuilding

Land agent Aston Mead says the government’s decision to put its flagship planning reforms on hold will lead to a slowdown or even a halt in the construction of new homes in the near future. 

The announcement to pause the biggest shake-up in the planning system in England for 70 years was made by new Housing Secretary Michael Gove, who replaced Robert Jenrick in a cabinet re-shuffle last week. 

The changes would have forced all councils to draw up 10-year plans, with land designated as ‘protected’, ‘renewal’ or ‘growth’. In growth zones, any proposal meeting the local design code would have been waived through without the need for specific planning permission. 

Aston Mead land & planning director Richard Watkins said: “Putting these reforms on hold now makes it unlikely that the government will meet its target of building 300,000 new homes a year. Uncertainty like this means housebuilders will sit on their hands because they simply don’t know what’s going to happen next. 

“What is certain is that things need to change. The problems with the planning system that were identified in the government white paper are still there.”

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