The National Planning Policy Framework's (NPPF's) presumption in favour of sustainable development should be "refreshed" to ensure that "all but the most misguided" applications are approved, a property industry lobby group has said.
Publishing an Accelerated Planning Manifesto ahead of next week’s general election, the British Property Federation (BPF), which represents the UK’s commercial and residential real estate developers and investors, said the effect of the presumption in favour of sustainable development "seems to have worn thin".
"We would like to see the presumption refreshed, with a clear statement from government that local planning authorities should work proactively with applicants to make all but the most misguided applications approvable," it said.
The manifesto also calls on future ministers to require all councils to have an up-to-date local plan in place by 2021 and to commit to "meaningful intervention" where this is not the case.
However, the federation also said it believed local plans could be "shorter and more concise" and that reviews could be more "focused" to ease the burden on local authorities.
The document also described cuts to local authority planning budgets at a time of increasing housing targets as "one of the contradictions in government policy" since 2010 and called on the next government to "invest heavily" in planning.
Other recommendations included increased use of local development orders (LDOs) - which give a grant of planning permission to specific types of development within a defined area - to "free up local planning officers’ time to deal with more complex schemes".
Melanie Leech, chief executive at the BPF, said: "There is no single solution for creating an accelerated planning system, but resourcing must be a priority for the next government going forward.
"Together with more investment from the private sector, a future government must commit to better funding of local government to ensure it can deliver more effective planning outcomes for all who interact with the process."
The UK’s three main political parties have all outlined ambitious targets for housebuilding in their election manifestos.