Planning ahead - rolling out the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Posted by Sara Hanrahan on

Originally posted by Lexis PSL, here.

Planning analysis: New housing and planning regulations bring a mix bag of provisions into force. Sara Hanrahan, partner at Blake Morgan LLP, looks at some of the key provisions.

What are the key provisions that have now come into force?

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No 2 Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 2016, SI 2016/733 (the Commencement Regulations) were made on 11 July 2016 and bring into force a mix of provisions of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA 2016) on three differing dates. There are also a number of saving and transitional provisions.

The Commencement Regulations, reg 3 brought into effect on 13 July 2016:

  1. HPA 2016, s 12 (self–build and custom housebuilding)
  2. HPA 2016, s 66 (voluntary right to buy monitoring)
  3. HPA 2016, ss 143 and 144 (local planning)
  4. HPA 2016, s 150(4)(5) and most of Schedule 12 (permission in principle)
  5. HPA 2016, ss 152(2)152(4) (approval condition where development order grants permission for building)
  6. HPA 2016, s 154 (planning freedoms)
  7. HPA 2016, ss 169170 (new towns)
  8. HPA 2016, ss 172179182190 and Schedule 16201202203206 and Schedule 19 (relating to compulsory purchase provisions)

The Commencement Regulations, reg 4 will bring into force on 1 October 2016:

  1. HPA 2016, s 132 (estate agent provisions)
  2. HPA 2016, s 141 and 142 (neighbourhood planning)
  3. HPA 2016, ss 145(1)–(4) (intervention by the Secretary of State)
  4. HPA 2016, s 146 (Secretary of State’s default powers)
  5. HPA 2016, s 147 and Schedule 11 (default powers for the Mayor of London or combined authority)
  6. HPA 2016, s 148 (costs of independent examinations)
  7. HPA 2016, s 156 (information about neighbourhood development plans), and
  8. HPA 2016, s 171 (sustainable drainage)

The Commencement Regulations, reg 5 will bring into effect on 31 October 2016:

  1. HPA 2016, ss 911 relating to self-build and custom housebuilding

Should property lawyers be taking any immediate action in light of these provisions coming into force?

The main provisions that will be of interest to property lawyers within the new Commencement Regulations are those relating to planning ‘permission in principle’ (PiP) under HPA 2016, s 150. PiP provisions allow housing-led schemes to be approved ‘in principle’ with technical details to be approved under a subsequent later application. Together they constitute full planning permission.

HPA 2016, s 216(2)(c) brought HPA 2016, s 150(1)–(3) into effect on 12 July 2016 and the new Commencement Regulations brought HPA 2016, s 150(4)(5) into effect on 11 July 2016. HPA 2016, Sch 12 has also now come into effect which sets out the necessary amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as arising from the new application process.

PiP granted pursuant to a development order will take effect when a site is allocated in a ‘qualifying document’. A ‘qualifying document’ is a register or an adopted development plan or a neighbourhood development plan. In respect of the relevant register, this is aimed at brownfield land and a requirement for local planning authorities to prepare and maintain such land, came into effect under HPA 2016, s 151 on 12 May 2016.

PiP should make an important contribution to the delivery of new homes as it will provide greater certainty to developers as to deliverability of new homes prior to significant investment in technical details. The current outline permission option still requires fairly significant upfront investment notwithstanding the ability to rely on reserved matters for details.

Legal advice as to how the new PiP provisions work will be paramount going forward to unlock potential new housing projects for developers.

Any other comments?

One of the key provisions within HPA 2016 relating to starter homes still awaits regulations to be brought into effect. The hold-up follows the extension given to the government’s technical consultation paper which changed from an original March date to 30 June 2016.

The idea behind starter homes was very much led by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, and it is not yet clear if his successor, Theresa May will continue to promote the scheme—although a recent press release issued on 21 July 2016 by the new Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, indicates that there will be continued support for HPA 2016 provisions and greater home ownership. He said ‘We are determined to ensure that anyone who works hard and aspires to own their own home has the opportunity to do so’. He went on to say ‘The ground-breaking Housing and Planning Act will allow us to go even further delivering our ambition to build an additional 1 million homes’.

Regulations to bring the starter home provision into effect are currently anticipated for October 2016.

Interviewed by Evelyn Reid.

You can get more articles like this from Lexis here.

About the Author

Sara specialises in urban redevelopment projects, particularly advising in relation to compulsory purchase and affordable housing schemes.

Sara Hanrahan
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020 7814 5407

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