DfT changes policy on planning | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

DfT changes policy on planning

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New rules published by the Department for Transport could lead to more large scale developments being built adjacent to England’s motorways and major A roads.

Under new guidance published today (10 September), more projects are likely to be granted planning permission.

Easing restrictions on providing new access roads and junctions for motorways will mean that developers and local authorities will find it easier to take forward large development projects.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond (pictured) said: “I believe that making planning decisions easier and quicker will lead to local economic growth and the creation of jobs, leading to greater prosperity.

“This policy delivers in cutting unnecessary red tape and making the planning process simpler and more straightforward for everybody involved.”

The new transport policy ‘The strategic road network and the delivery of sustainable development’ follows a public consultation undertaken in February and March this year and places greater emphasis on the Highways Agency’s role to promote economic growth and enable development. The overall balance of opinion was supportive of the proposals. No major points of contention were identified and only minor changes were required.

Key changes include:

  • Easing restrictions on new access roads and junctions on motorways. This will assist local authorities and developers to deliver strategic growth by unlocking access to large sites near motorways and major A-roads.
  • Removing the need for developers to pay for mitigation measures unless the impacts of their proposals are severe; and reducing the scale of any work that may be required as a consequence.
  • A commitment to support the delivery of developments that have been approved in a Local Plan. This will give certainty to local authorities and developers that their proposals can be realised.
  • Simplifying the mandatory requirements that must be provided at every service area and roadside facility. Sites will still be required to play their role in the essential safety and comfort of motorists – such as the availability of fuel, toilets, drinks and two hours free parking – but other issues will now to be decided by local planning and market forces.
  • Devolving decisions on the minimum spacing for service areas to the planning system, thus creating the potential for new sites which will encourage greater competition and customer choice.
 
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