The British Property Federation has broadly backed the Government in its response to the planning white paper consultation.
It said it welcomed national policy statements and the creation of an Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) which would ‘bring greater clarity and certainty to the delivery of nationally significant infrastructure’ but said any statements should be detailed and ‘location specific’.
The proposed IPC would determine the location of major projects such as roads, airports and nuclear power through a series of national policy statements drawn up by parliament.
Liz Peace, BPF chief executive, said: ‘As the national policy statements will be the most important factor upon which the IPC will base its decision, it is vital that this new element of spatial planning works in harmony with the current planning system. There will need to be effective co-ordination between national and regional government and differences of opinion must be resolved fairly and promptly.
She added that the IPC should also recognize regeneration schemes, including Brown’s ‘eco towns’ as ‘nationally significant’ which would ‘send a clear signal that the government is equally serious about providing the certainty that is needed to deliver major regeneration schemes of this kind’.
The BPF welcomed plans to introduce planning performance agreements but criticized ‘unjustified’ fee increases which would remove the £50,000 cap and could see application costs rise by up to 40%.
The planning white paper seeks to reform the efficiency and speed of the planning system and follows Kate Barker’s and Rod Eddington’s recommendations for improving the responsiveness and efficiency in land use planning.