New homes and hospitals will be granted "automatic" permission to be built as part of sweeping planning reforms in England, the housing secretary says. Robert Jenrick announced a "permission in principle" will be given to developments on land designated "for renewal" to speed-up building. It comes after the PM pledged £5bn to "build, build, build". Shelter has warned against any reforms that lead to small amounts of "bad-quality" housing. The homeless charity has said 280,000 homes received permission in England between 2011 and 2016 but were never built.
The claim: A standard housing development takes an average of five years to go through the planning system. Verdict: Developments of more than 1,000 dwellings may take that long, but those are very large. The vast majority of developments are much smaller and do not take that long. Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, wrote an article in the Sunday Telegraph talking about how he wants to change the planning system in England. In the article, he wrote: "Under the current system, it takes an average of five years for a standard housing development to go through the planning system - before a spade is even in the ground."
The government is to review a decision to allow open-cast coal mining in a valley in County Durham. Lawyers for the government have written to campaigners to say their decision-making was flawed and agreed to look again. The mine in the Pont Valley, known as Bradley, began operating last year after four decades of opposition. This week, James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, told campaigners the decision not to revoke permission for the mine would be re-examined. The move comes as Brokenshire is also considering whether to grant planning permission for another open-cast mine, at Druridge Bay in Northumberland.
Flamefest, which boasts a "discreet" adult play area and outdoor dungeon, was at the site on Saturday and Sunday. Its adult "play area" allows festival-goers to "explore kinks" and "play within the boundaries of our common-sense rules" with dominatrixes and monitors. Tunbridge Wells council said the event was authorised by a temporary event notice and it has "no discretion to select the type of events held providing they meet the requirements of the relevant legislation". A spokeswoman said: "But tracks which have been laid through the woods do require planning permission.