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TerraQuest News

- Jun 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of the Planning Market Insight Report (1)

The Queen addressed the nation in early May when she formally opened Parliament and outlined the government’s proposed policies and legislation for the coming parliamentary session. In reference to infrastructure and ‘levelling up’, a Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill will extend 5G mobile coverage and introduce new safety standards for digital devices. The Environmental Bill, which has been repeatedly delayed, will introduce new post-Brexit rules on protecting nature. A pledge to reform planning laws with the aim of increasing the number of new houses being built was also included. Under new proposals, areas will be designated for growth, protection, or regeneration, with developments in growth areas being harder for local opponents to block.

The speech also referred to the ongoing overhaul of the Building Regulations system in the UK, which the Queen said would “ensure the tragedies of the past were never repeated”. Following this, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has released details of new fire safety statements which developers will have to provide from August 2021.

Over the last year, in line with government guidance for dealing with the pandemic, Local Authorities have been hosting planning committee meetings virtually. The temporary legislation allowing this ended on 6 May 2021 and this has raised many questions and a lot of upset throughout Local Authorities. Luke Hall, the Minister for Local Government, wrote to all Local Authority leaders to say that extending the temporary legislation beyond 7 May would require primary legislation. He highlighted the ”significant impact” the process of passing this legislation would have on the government’s legislative programme which is ”already under significant pressure”. He also referred to the ”excellent progress that has been made on our vaccination programme and the announcement of the government’s roadmap for lifting Covid-19 restrictions.“ The government have instead issued guidance to help Local Authorities operate “safely and securely” but the move remains controversial. James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), said the decision is “extremely disappointing”. He points out that for other groups, indoor activities are not allowed until a later date, with MPs retaining the right to participate remotely until 21 June.

As seen in the last report, Local Planning Authorities are under pressure from the large amount of applications that are being submitted. We can confirm that whilst remaining high overall, application submissions for May were down slightly compared to the previous month. A total of 63,497 applications were submitted, a decrease of 3%. However, compared to May 2020’s total, this is an increase of 52%. The average number of applications submitted during a working day in May was 2,719; an increase of 54% compared to May 2020’s total.

The report this month also includes a contribution from Savills which assesses the recent market drivers and discusses what shape the future may take.

We hope you enjoy this month’s edition!  

Sarah Chilcott  
Managing Director – Planning Portal  

The above article was provided to us by the Planning Portal.