Braintree District Council responds to government announcement on changes to the planning system as part of Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill

A statement from Councillor Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure on the changes to the planning system announcement.

Councillor Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure at Braintree District Council, said: “We absolutely welcome the changes to the planning system that were announced in December as part of the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill, subject to reviewing the final detail. As a Council we debated these changes at our Full Council meeting on Tuesday 3 January, which we hope will give residents an opportunity to be more involved in local development.

“It’s extremely good news that the government has listened to our concerns, along with other councils and residents, over the planning issues locally with the five-year housing land supply and the system set to be scrapped. We hope this means it will no longer be the number one reason to allow for developments locally, and that having an up-to-date Local Plan, which we worked hard to get over the line for the district and means we are one of the 4 in 10 authorities in the country who have an up-to-date plan, will be the primary document to guide future development in our area.

“We know we must plan for some new housing in the district to meet our communities’ needs, but it looks like the government’s changes will give us the best possible opportunity to fight against speculative, unsustainable and poorly designed housing developments, ensuring housing is sustainable, affordable and well designed, and give greater certainty to our local communities as to where new developments will be built and the infrastructure and facilities that is needed alongside them.

“Prioritising brownfield development and the potential for new financial penalties for companies failing to deliver housing and giving councils powers to stop developers getting permissions is also promising.

“We look forward to examining the detailed proposals, that were released just before Christmas, in the hope that they will create a more engaging, equitable and effective locally led planning system to give our communities more certainty that the right homes will be built in the right places across the Braintree district and with the right infrastructure.”

Published: 5th January 2023