To consider the report of the Chief Planning Officer that provides an early overview of proposals in the Government’s White Paper on reform of the Planning System. For each of the proposal topics officers raise matters that may require consideration for Members as part of the Council’s consultation response. There are also particular comments on the potential implications for the Local Plan Update. The report is also an opportunity for Members to provide their own comments on the proposals, in order to aid officers in preparing a draft response to the consultation, to be brought to DPP in October for endorsement.
The Planning Strategy Team Leader (Policy & Plans) presented a report which provided Members with an overview of proposals in the Government’s White Paper on reform of the Planning System, noting that the consultation would end 29 October 2020.
A copy of the consultation questions as part of the Planning White Paper consultation had been appended to the report and can be found at Appendix 1.
The report outlined the potential implications for planning in Leeds and provided an understanding of the proposals in the White Paper that had been split into three topic areas. The following key headlines and matters for consideration in terms of the consultation responses had been highlighted:
Planning for Development
· Designations of land for Growth, Renewal or Protection. Complexities included area needs in relation to the variety of communities and urban areas in Leeds;
· Proposed set of Development Management policies established at a national scale. To avoid repeating policies as set out in local plan, instead concentrating on site or area specific requirements;
· Review of the Standard Method for calculation housing requirements;
· Faster decision making in relation to planning applications to be streamlined.
Beautiful and Sustainable Places
· The important role for Local Design Codes in terms of planning applications;
· Considerations around proposals for improvements in the energy efficiency standards for buildings to deliver a commitment to net-zero by 2050 and conserving and enhancing historic buildings.
Infrastructure and Connected Places
· The replacement of S106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) system with a single levy.
It was acknowledged that the proposals of the Planning White Paper would result in significant changes in how planning matters are dealt with in Leeds, and required input from Local Authorities in moving forward.
The Panel noted the responses submitted, and further comments had been discussed:
· The White Paper’s commitment to net-zero by 2050 was not ambitious enough compared with Leeds’ commitment to zero carbon by 2030.
· Concerns that the White Paper does not address housebuilder land banking issues.
· Concerns regarding infill sites in terms of urban areas, and the implementation of green infrastructure across communities.
· The proposal to replace statutory site notices with digital options would not cater for the variety of communities across Leeds.
· Considerations around how the White Paper reforms would affect wider community understanding and involvement in the planning system.
It was agreed that a unified approach was required in responding to the consultation in a coherent way, and a suggestion was made for working groups to be arranged to provide cross political party consensus on planning matters at a local level. Officers confirmed that additional sessions would be arranged through working group sessions prior to the next formal meeting in October.
a) To note the contents of the report along with the Panel’s discussions;
b) To request that a series of working groups be arranged in conjunction with the Chair, Development Plan Panel Members and officers to allow Members to comment on the proposals prior to a draft response being finalised;
c) To note that a draft response to the consultation would be brought to the Development Plan Panel in October 2020 for endorsement.