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Biggest change to planning laws since the Second World War ‘will now be DROPPED by Ministers’

Biggest change to planning laws since the Second World War ‘will now be DROPPED by Ministers after Tory voter backlash’

  • Ministers are set to water down the biggest change to planning laws in 70 years
  • The reforms had been designed to help build 300,000 extra homes each year
  • But they are reportedly set to be scrapped and watered down after a backlash
  • Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is reportedly likely to scrap the ‘zonal system’


Ministers are set to water down a shake-up of planning thanks to opposition in the Tory shires, it was reported last night.

Many of the reforms – which are designed to help build 300,000 extra homes per year – are set to be scrapped and watered down by the Government, reports suggested.

Ministers had said they wanted to overhaul the planning system to allow new homes to be built, in what would have been the biggest shake-up of the system in 70 years.

But it is understood they are now considering abandoning the plan to make local housing targets mandatory.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is also likely to scrap the ‘zonal system’ under which neighbours would be unable to object to new homes in many areas, The Times reported. 

Many of the reforms – which are designed to help build 300,000 extra homes per year – are set to be scrapped by the Government, reports suggested. Pictured: Boris Johson

Ministers previously argued that reforms would boost the building of high-quality, sustainable homes, by streamlining the process and cutting red tape.

The Planning Bill, first mooted in the Queen’s Speech earlier this year, was designed to create a simpler, faster and more modern planning system – to replace the current one, dating back to the post-Second World War era of 1947.

But proposals to stop homeowners being able to object to planning applications through a zonal system, and mandatory housebuilding targets for councils, may now be scrapped, according to The Times.

The newspaper reported that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick would present a pared-back policy following a backlash from voters and Tory MPs in southern England.

Tory MPs blamed the original plans for the Conservatives’ defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-election in June to the Liberal Democrats.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) is likely to scrap the 'zonal system' under which neighbours would be unable to object to new homes in many areas

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) is likely to scrap the ‘zonal system’ under which neighbours would be unable to object to new homes in many areas

Ministers had said they wanted to overhaul the planning system to allow new homes to be built, in what would have been the biggest shake-up of the system in 70 years (stock image)

Ministers had said they wanted to overhaul the planning system to allow new homes to be built, in what would have been the biggest shake-up of the system in 70 years (stock image)

Leaflets from the Lib Dems at the time attacked the policy and included quotes from prominent Tories, such as former prime minister Theresa May and former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, criticising the reforms.

Detractors had been vocal in warning that the plans would undermine local democracy by removing the public’s right to be heard in person.

It was also reported that the massive growth in housebuilding numbers had prompted questions over whether the proposals were needed.

Almost 244,000 homes were reportedly built in 2019-20, the highest number recorded since the late 1980s, with developers seeming to cope well despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are also reportedly more than 1.1million houses with planning permission that are yet to be built, according to analysis by the Local Government Association.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesman said on Friday: ‘We will not comment on speculation. Our response to the consultation will be released in due course.’ 

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