Planning for the future

Development of any nature is affected by the planning system. It shapes where and when new settlements come forward, what landowners can do with their existing buildings, how essential infrastructure is delivered, and more.

It has been an evolving system for many years, but more radical changes could now be in the pipeline. This is relevant to all those who own or develop real estate, or are considering investing in it, whether this is for a residential-led new settlement, a repurposing of redundant university campus buildings, a town centre regeneration project or anything in between. 

Having been forced to conduct committee meetings, planning inquiries and High Court challenges online in recent months, will we see a continued use of technology in the system, and will ‘Plan-Tech’ encourage and assist communities to more readily engage with it? 

Advances in technology in other sectors could require planning policy to adapt further. Increasing demand for electric vehicles, or even autonomous vehicles, could change the infrastructure requirements of new settlements, and better broadband connectivity in residential areas, necessary to enable more regular working from home, may impact on other infrastructure requirements such as road and rail connectivity. 

Will open green spaces and Esports venues take the place of gyms and more traditional stadia? Will those setting planning policies more robustly address the need to provide accommodation for our ageing population? With changing ways of delivering teaching to students, many higher education establishments are also likely to be considering how their estates are used. 

The planning system has a significant role to play in attracting businesses to a local area, in providing safe places to live, in protecting the environment and heritage assets, in encouraging healthy lifestyles, and much more besides.  The way in which we live, work and spend our free time is changing and the planning system needs to be able to respond to that.

To find out more about our Planning lawReal estate investment and Real estate services.


  • Caroline Bywater

    Principal Associate

    Caroline Bywater

    Principal Associate

    • +(44)(0)1223 222578
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