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14th September 2016

Government Introduces Neighbourhood Planning Bill

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A Bill containing measures on planning and compulsory purchase has been introduced to Parliament.

A Bill containing measures relating to planning and compulsory purchase has been introduced to Parliament. The Government’s aim in introducing the new legislation is to speed up the delivery of new homes and to give communities as much certainty as possible about where and when development will take place.

The first part of the Bill is intended to strengthen the neighbourhood planning process by ensuring that planning decision-makers take account of well-advanced neighbourhood development plans. It includes a duty on decision-makers to have regard to neighbourhood plans that have been through independent examination and that are to be put to a referendum. In addition, a neighbourhood plan will become part of the development plan where it is approved by a referendum. The Bill also simplifies the procedure for modification of a neighbourhood order, plan or area.

The Bill also aims to make the duty on local planning authorities to support neighbourhood planning groups more transparent by requiring them to prepare a statement of community involvement setting out the authority’s policy for discharging the duty to give advice or assistance on proposals for the making of neighbourhood development orders and plans.

The Bill also introduces restrictions on the power to impose pre-commencement conditions on planning permissions so as to enable developers to start building as soon as possible. Local authorities will no longer be able to impose such conditions without the written agreement of the applicant. The Bill also enables the Secretary of State to make regulations which prescribe the circumstances where certain conditions may or may not be imposed.

The Bill will introduce a new requirement on local authorities to record information about prior approvals for permitted development rights on the planning register.

The second part of the Bill aims to simplify the compulsory purchase order process to make it clearer, fairer and faster. It introduces a power to take temporary possession of land for purposes connected with a compulsory purchase scheme, and sets out the procedure for authorising temporary possession. The Bill also aims to clarify the statutory framework for compulsory purchase compensation, although there will be no change to the fundamental principles on which it is assessed.

There are likely to be changes to the provisions of the Bill as it works its way through Parliament. In the meantime, the Government has launched a technical consultation on the implementation of the neighbourhood planning provisions in the Bill which runs to 19 October 2016 and a consultation on the use of planning conditions which runs until 2 November 2016.

For more information please visit our Planning Services Page or contact Gemma Dudley on 01223 461155 7400 6574 or click here to email Gemma.