Planning for the future consultation
The Planning for the future consultation proposes reforms of the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process, bring a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure, and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.
The consultation will last for 12 weeks, from the 6th August, closing on the 29th October 2020.
In Planning for the future, the Government is proposing a number of changes, which if implemented, should speed up, simplify and improve the outcomes of the planning system and make homes affordable and available for ‘everyone’. It also aims to support the Governments drive to deliver 300,00 homes annually.
“…that gives the people of this country the homes we need in the places we want to live at prices we can afford, so that all of us are free to live where we can connect our talents with opportunity.”
Boris Johnson, Prime Minister
In the White Paper, there are key proposals that the Government want to see improved. These include; a greater supply of land for housing where it is needed the most, a diverse building sector delivering ‘beautiful new developments’, community input and engagement at an earlier stage (including the use of digital technology to make information easier to understand) and supporting people and families to own their own homes.
The 5 key proposals for reform are:
+ Streamline the planning process and replace the entire corpus of plan-making law in England.
+ Take a radical + digital-first approach to modernise the planning process.
+ Bring a new focus on design + sustainability.
+ Improve infrastructure delivery + ensure developers play their part.
+ Ensure land is available.
Unfortunately, and despite previous concerns regarding the lack of accessible homes in the UK, there is no mention in the consultation about accessible or adapted homes.
We have previously discussed this, in our article, “Accessibility of English Homes”, where we highlighted the fact that there is an urgent need for accessible and adapted homes if we are to avoid a housing crisis similar to that of 1919.
In the UK, the number of people living with a disability continues to rise, and it is vital that homes are available that enables these people to live as independent a life as possible.
In the White Paper, the focus is very much on creating beautiful homes, that people can afford in places where they want to live and work, to ‘level-up’ social and economic opportunities within communities. With innovators, businesses and future generations benefiting from a planning system that is ‘adaptable’ to the changing economy.
However, nowhere in the white paper does the need to ensure that these homes, built for our future generation, are adaptable or accessible to help solve the crisis in accessible housing. There are fears that, however beautiful and available these developments are, they will not be built to accommodate those living with disabilities.
What the Government has failed to recognise, is an opportunity to increase the number of accessible homes within the UK at a time when they are so vitally needed. Those living with disabilities should be involved in the decision-making process, to help inform policy changes and highlight the inequalities faced by millions across the UK.
Unfortunately, it looks as though the housing system in the UK has failed to meet the needs of those living with disabilities once again. Urgent action needs to be taken to make future housing developments accessible to all.
What is promising is a further consultation, “Raising accessibility standards for new homes”, which will run for 12 weeks from the 8th September until the 1st December that considers how to raise accessibility standards, recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people.
We will discuss this consultation in greater detail in our next article.
The White Paper in full can be viewed here.
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