Boris Johnson will bulldoze Britain’s bloated planning system to help get the economy moving again. He pledged to bring forward “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the Second World War”.
He said the move, which will see ministers take the axe to swathes of red tape, would pave the way for an “infrastructure revolution” that would create jobs now and improve productivity long-term.
He focused much of his fire on Britain’s sclerotic planning system. He announced a number of immediate changes designed to tackle the crisis in the commercial property sector. These include allowing offices and shops to be converted into housing without planning permission in most cases. Businesses will also be able to ‘repurpose’ property to a new use, such as converting a shop into a cafe, without the need for council red tape.
And developers will be able to demolish vacant and redundant buildings without normal planning permission, provided they are to be rebuilt as homes.
But government sources said yesterday’s changes were by no means the end of our ambitions. At a meeting of government advisers last week, Dominic Cummings, the PM’s chief adviser, described the planning system as appalling, adding “It makes things so hard to build”.
I suppose that depends on who you dine with at a Tory Party fundraiser?