Neighbourhood Planning Bill Update
The Neighbourhood Planning Bill ("the Bill") had its first reading in the House of Commons on 7 September and is due to have its second reading on 10 October 2016. The Bill introduces a number of changes to both the planning and compulsory purchase.
In relation to neighbourhood planning the majority of changes are aimed at strengthening the process. One of the most important provisions introduced will be for neighbourhood plans to come into force as soon as they have passed the referendum stage. The Bill also provides for a proportionate process for modifying plans and orders subject to regulations. The Government is currently seeking views on the detailed regulations in a Consultation Paper issued this month due to close on 19 October.
Other significant changes:
- Planning register – the planning register will be required to include details of any prior approval application and subsequent notifications;
- Planning conditions – the Secretary of State will be able to issue regulations restricting an LPA's power to impose certain planning conditions. Furthermore, planning consents may not be granted subject to pre-commencement conditions without the written agreement of the applicant to the terms of the condition.
- Compulsory purchase – a number of revision are proposed although one of the most significant will be the ability to take temporary possession of land.
The proposed Bill is aimed at speeding up the planning system and as a consequence assisting in the delivery of more housing within localities supported by local communities. Most of the changes are not controversial apart from the new requirement to agree pre-commencement conditions. The Queen's speech made it clear that pre-commencement conditions were seen as a cause for delay in development and, whilst it is not clear if having to agree the drafting of such conditions prior to issue of any consent will in fact speed things up, it might at least mean an end to the unnecessarily long "shopping list" of pre-commencement conditions that seem to increasingly be sought for residential led schemes.