A package of planning reforms designed to speed up the delivery of new infrastructure and development has been welcomed by the property industry.

The Coalition's National Infrastructure Plan, published today, outlines a range of reforms designed to streamline the planning system, bring brownfield land back in to use and make it easier for councils to assemble land for regeneration.

The British Property Federation welcomed the announcement and urged Government to match structural reform of the planning system with measures to unlock greater investment in infrastructure and to ensure that local authority planning departments were properly resourced.

British Property Federation Chief Executive Liz Peace said:

“Delivering the right infrastructure at a local, regional and national level is essential, and today’s announcement marks a welcome step in ensuring that the planning system works more effectively in bringing forward essential development and creating the conditions for growth.

“The property industry has a key role to play in regenerating our towns and cities, and so reform of Compulsory Purchase Orders to help bring brownfield land back in to use is long overdue. Speeding up section 106 negotiations, which can often drag on for many months, is also hugely welcome, as are proposals to encourage local authorities to process planning applications more speedily.

“However, structural reform is only half the battle. We would urge Government to also ensure that the system is properly resource at a local level, and to do all it can to drive greater investment in to the built environment as a whole.”

The National Infrastructure Plan today stated that:

• The government will publish proposals for Compulsory Purchase Reforms for consultation at Budget 2015 to make processes “clearer, faster and fairer”, with the aim of bringing forward more brownfield land for development. The government will take forward measures to ensure that the principle of development need only be established once.

• The government will take steps to speed up section 106 negotiations, to reduce delays to the planning process.

• The government will keep speed of major decisions under review, with minimum performance thresholds increasing to 50% of major decisions made on time as performance improves.

• The government will support a new garden town at Bicester to provide up to 13,000 new homes subject to value for money.

• The government will set ambitious targets for the release of public sector land between 2015 and 2020. Government is committed to releasing land with capacity for up to 150,000 homes.

• The government will extend affordable housing capital investment to 2018-19 and 2019-20, to ensure that 275,000 new affordable homes can be delivered over the next Parliament.

• The government will publish new data on Local Authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within 8 weeks.

• The government will work with industry and Local Authorities to test whether more can be done to support the approval of small sites in the planning system.

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