The CLA welcomes the new planning measures outlined in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill after its announcement in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. During the development of this legislation, we are calling on the government to include the clear steps set out in the new cross-party parliamentary report on levelling up the rural economy in order to benefit rural communities across England.
The proposals to overhaul the ‘one-size-fits-all’ planning system, which has disadvantaged rural areas, especially villages, with new design codes to let local communities set rules about the layout of new developments is potentially an encouraging step forward.
The aim of getting as close as possible to the target of building 300,000 new homes a year is also a crucial part of solving the rural productivity gap. The more affordable houses there are in rural areas, the more likely that people can afford to live where they work, which keeps money within the local community. It will be important for these projects to be delivered in all types of settlements, including organic and incremental growth of small rural villages and hamlets - not just focussing on urban expansion programmes.
We are calling for a strong and confident planning system that is fit for purpose as soon as possible, otherwise, efforts to close the productivity gap between rural and urban businesses will never be achieved
Responding to the initial announcements on what the Bill may include, CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: “We strongly emphasise how urgently the proposed measures to simplify local plans and digitalisation of the planning system are required as far as economies in rural areas are concerned. These must be delivered in all types of settlements, including organic and incremental growth of small rural villages and hamlets. Rural businesses, and the CLA’s objective to increase rural productivity, are negatively impacted by a planning system that is not fit for purpose, with many local plans perpetually out-of-date, coupled with staffing issues in planning authorities across the country.
Mark concluded by issuing a call to action for the government by saying: “We are calling for a strong and confident planning system that is fit for purpose as soon as possible, otherwise, efforts to close the productivity gap between rural and urban businesses will never be achieved. If these issues are not addressed, we face the long-term sustainability of rural businesses and communities, their need for jobs, homes and access to services being left out of the levelling up agenda and ultimately failing.”