12 April 2016

Housing and Planning Bill 2015/2016: planning provisions

The Housing and Planning Bill 2015/2016 currently contains provisions on, amongst other matters, the following issues:

Permission in principle

These provisions will allow planning permission in principle (“PPIP”) to be granted for land that is allocated for development in a qualifying document. It is anticipated that PPIP will be set out in development plan documents, neighbourhood plans and the new brownfield registers that local planning authorities will be obliged to compile (see the paragraph below). PPIP would come into effect when the relevant document was adopted or revised to allocate the land. Any site allocated within one of these documents would have PPIP and a technical details consent would be required before any development could commence. There are no details in the Bill on what criteria will be covered in the technical details stage. It should be noted that local planning authorities would not be able to reopen or reconsider the principle of the proposal in the determination of the technical details stage because that would have been granted at the permission in principle stage. The Government’s current intention is that this will initially be limited to sites suitable for housing (use), location and amount of development.

Brownfield registers

With a view to enabling more housing to be built on brownfield land, local planning authorities will be obliged to compile and maintain a register of local brownfield land suitable for development and keep it up to date. This would tie in with the system of allowing PPIP to be granted for housing on sites identified in these registers. The Secretary of State will be able to detail any criteria that the land must fulfil for entry on the register.

Processing of planning applications by alternative providers

The Bill will introduce provisions to enable regulations to be put in place by the Secretary of State to allow applicants the opportunity to nominate that their application be processed by alternative providers to the local planning authority. The purpose of this is to introduce a pilot scheme that would test the benefits of introducing competition in the processing of applications. The local planning authority would still ultimately make the final decision on the application but the designated person would be solely responsible for processing the application and making a recommendation.

Planning permissions

In addition, the Bill proposes the following amendments to legislation regarding planning permissions:

  • Approval condition where development order grants permission for building: This would enable certain permitted development rights to require approval of the local planning authority or Secretary of State for any matters related to the building operations or the use of the land following those building operations. This would allow certain aspects of the permitted development rights to be delegated to the local planning authority, so that local conditions and sensitivities can be taken into account.
  • Planning applications to be made to the Secretary of State: This would allow applicants to submit applications for non-major developments to the Planning Inspectorate directly in cases where the local planning authority has a track record of poor performance in the speed or quality of its decision-making.
  • Information about financial benefits: The Bill proposes an obligation on local planning authorities to ensure that potential financial benefits of certain development proposals are made public when a local planning authority is considering whether to grant planning permission. The officers’ report for planning applications would therefore need to contain a list of financial benefits which would be likely to be obtained by the local planning authority as a result of a proposed development if it was carried out.

If you wish to discuss any of the above, please contact Stuart Lumb on 0113 297 3781 or at slumb@shulmans.co.uk.