CLC calls for ‘fourth zone’ as part of planning reform

CLC calls for ‘fourth zone’ to unlock regeneration opportunities and help level-up the country as part of planning reforms.

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has called for the creation of a so called ‘fourth zone’ to unlock potential regeneration opportunities that have been blocked by existing planning rules.

The CLC’s recommendations came in response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Planning for the Future consultation. The consultation, which closed last week, identifies three types of land use: 

Growth: where development will be promoted with automatic outline approval for appropriate development;

Renewal: where some development can occur;

Protected: where development is restricted.

The CLC’s proposed ‘fourth zone’ sites would set long-term growth objectives, would not be constrained by an initial outline plan and would build on the government’s commitment to level-up parts of the country where regeneration would deliver on real social and economic outcomes.

The CLC response also calls for:

  • Robust strategic planning at ‘larger-than-local’ level;
  • Investment in digitisation of the planning process on a wider level;
  • A renewed commitment to design quality which would consider the wider local social and economic outcomes such as employment, infrastructure and how the development sits within a local community;
  • A consolidated infrastructure levy that is sensitive to local area viability, can be used flexibly and is dedicated to securing local social and economic infrastructure;
  • Properly resourcing local authorities to deliver their planning functions;
  • Avoiding any hiatus in work when transitioning to new reformed system. 

The CLC’s response has been prepared by its local, social and commercial (LSC), and housing working groups. 

LSC co-chair Paul Reilly said: “As we emerge from Covid-19 the planning system can act as a significant accelerator of economic recovery if it can unlock appropriate development. Our proposals for a fourth planning zone would unleash the potential of regeneration sites nationwide.”

Housing chair John Slaughter said: “A commitment from government to universal coverage of simplified local plans, adopted within clear timescales, and which plan positively for development will play a key part in delivering the 300,000 homes a year we need. We look forward to working with government on the details of these important planning reforms.”

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