Log in | Register

Budget 2016: Planning

Words: Laura Edgar

The Budget 2016 details measures to ‘streamline’ the planning system – including a move to zonal planning – in an attempt to deliver 400,000 affordable housing starts by 2020-21.

Delivering the Budget 2016 yesterday (16 March), chancellor George Osborne said “measures to speed up the planning system” would be introduced by the government, while the green belt will continue to be protected.

Zonal planning


The government outlined its intention to move to a “more zonal and ‘red line’ planning approach”.

This, according to the Budget document, means local authorities would use their local plans to signal their development strategy from the beginning. It advised that councils should make maximum use of permission in principle to give “early certainty and reduce the number of stages developers must go through to get planning permission”.

Speeding up and streamlining the system


The Budget 2016 states that speeding up the planning system will help the government to deliver its housing targets. It aims to ensure the delivery of local plans by 2017 and later this year it will set out measures aimed at encouraging the production of local plans.

Measures will also be introduced to minimise delays; this will include legislation to ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions can only be used with the agreement of the developer.

It will also review the process of deemed discharge for conditions, to ensure it is “effective and its use is maximised”.



The Budget 2016 states the government will set a statutory three-month deadline for secretary of state decisions on called-in applications and recovered appeals.

This is being done to “prevent time delays on decisions on infrastructure, housing and regeneration projects”.

Mobile infrastructure


In this Budget, the government has committed to delivering provisions to provide “greater freedoms and flexibilities” to deploying mobile infrastructure.

This includes reducing planning restrictions for existing telecoms infrastructure as well as allowing taller new ground masts to be built.

More detail about the planning measures can be found in the Budget 2016.

Reaction to these proposals can be found here.

Image credit | iStock