For the first time in 59 years, the Queen did not deliver her annual speech at the State Opening of Parliament this year and, instead, the speech was delivered by Prince Charles. In a less historical moment, the speech outlined upcoming planning reform, as part of ongoing efforts to revise England’s planning system.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was published the day after the speech. As showcased by its name, the Bill is a product of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda. The Queen’s Speech summarised it as aiming to “drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas, and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success.” It comes nearly two years after the publication of the Government’s White Paper for Planning (August 2020) which promised wholesale transformation to help speed up and simplify the planning system and engage local communities more and just three months after the Levelling Up White Paper (February 2022). It is accompanied by a detailed, separate, Government policy paper.
So what does the long-awaited Bill actually say? Its scope is much wider than just a planning remit, with talk of levelling up ‘missions’, changes proposed to local government structure and devolution measures, changes to compulsory purchase legislation and proposed rental auctions designed to revitalise our high streets. Extensive space in the Bill is dedicated to planning, however, and its ‘long title’ acts as a handy signpost of the main changes.
We summarise the Bill’s main provisions relating to planning below. This is not a comprehensive summary of the Bill’s content.
If you would like more information on any of these topics, our expertise and knowledge in the sector, or to discuss a particular project, please do contact one of our team.