Ministers push ahead with brownfield site registers and 'permission in principle'

Councils will have to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of brownfield sites available for housing locally, the Housing and Planning Minister has confirmed.

Gavin Barwell said: “We need to build more homes in this country so making sure that we re-use brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.

“These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to do this.”

Brownfield registers were first piloted in 2016, when 73 local planning authorities took part.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the £3bn Home Builders Fund would also be used to support the development of brownfield sites, with an additional £1.2bn provided to unlock at least 30,000 Starter Homes on brownfield land.

The DCLG added that a new way of obtaining planning permission through these new registers – ‘permission in principle’ – had been introduced.

It claimed that ‘permission in principle’ would simplify the planning process for developers. “It will give them more certainty over whether a site is suitable for development ahead of working up costly proposals to obtain full planning permission. This will encourage new development and increase the amount of land available to build on, helping to boost housing supply.

“Further legislation will follow this year to roll-out ‘permission in principle’ more widely through the planning system.”

The announcements were made as ministers published the Government’s response to the technical consultation on the implementation of the Housing and Planning Act, chapters 2 and 3 on permission in principle and brownfield registers.

The regulations implementing brownfield registers and permission in principle through brownfield registers have been laid in Parliament as part of secondary legislation relating to the Housing and Planning Act. They will come into force 21 days after being laid.

Statutory guidance for local authorities will follow to explain the role of brownfield registers and permission in principle in more detail, the DCLG said.

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