20 May 2016

Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill

The Queen’s Speech, dated 18 May 2016, included the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill. This sets out that “to support the economic recovery, and to create jobs and more apprenticeships, legislation will be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow”.

The purpose of this Bill is to:

  • Support the Government’s ambition to deliver one million new homes, whilst protecting the areas we most value including the Green Belt.

  • Deliver the homes and infrastructure that the country needs.

  • Transform the way we plan for major infrastructure projects in the country.

The main facets of the Bill in relation to planning are set out below:

Planning conditions: To ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions are only imposed by local planning authorities where they are absolutely necessary. It is acknowledged that excessive pre-commencement planning conditions can slow down or stop the construction of homes after they have been given planning permission. The new legislation would contend with the overuse of certain planning conditions and ensure that development, including new housing, can commence without unnecessary delay as a result.

Neighbourhood planning: The new legislation will aim to strengthen neighbourhood planning and give more power to local people. This shall also strengthen neighbourhood planning by making the local government duty to support groups more transparent and by improving the process for reviewing and updating plans.

National Infrastructure Commission: The new legislation will establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis. The Commission would provide the government with independent advice on infrastructure issues by setting out a clear, strategic vision on the future infrastructure that is needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050. The new legislation will seek to unlock economic potential across the UK and ensure that growth and opportunities are distributed across the country, boosting productivity and competitiveness through high-quality infrastructure.

Compulsory purchase: The proposals shall seek to make the compulsory purchase order process clearer, fairer and faster for all those involved. This shall include reform of the context within which compensation is negotiated and the consolidation and clarification of over 100 years of conflicting statute and case law. A clear, new statutory framework for agreeing compensation would be established, which would be based on the fundamental principle that compensation should be based on the market value of the land in the absence of the scheme underlying the compulsory purchase.

If you have any queries about the above, please contact Stuart Lumb on 0113 297 3781 or at slumb@shulmans.co.uk.