Firstly and very importantly don't forget the fee increase on 17th January, if you have applications ready to submit get them in or you'll be hit with a 20% increase on the previous fee.
2017: The year of the broken housing market
Planning continued to receive plenty of attention from central government over the course of 2017. The issue of the Housing White Paper titled "Fixing our broken housing market" has kept housing supply issues high at the top of the agenda, albeit behind the Brexit bun fight as the EU Withdrawal Bill continues to make its way through parliament.
The White Paper contained proposals for up-to-date development plans, amendments to neighbourhood plan provisions, limitations on pre-commencement conditions, permissions in principle, standardised housing supply figures, custom home building, starter homes and amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework plus with separate consultations on build to rent and community infrastructure levy there has been plenty to keep us all busy.
The Neighbourhood Planning Bill became an act and includes compulsory purchase reforms, provisions for modification of neighbourhood plans, powers to intervene in the local development plan making process and provisions for regulations to restrict pre-commencement conditions.
Regulations have come through in relation to brownfield registers, permissions in principle, Environmental Impact Assessment as well as what seems to be the obligatory amendments to the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, albeit these have been minor compared to previous years.
Councils should now have their brownfield land registers in place (deadline of December 2017) and the latest set of regulations regarding permissions in principle have been made and will come into force in June 2018.
The new Environmental Impact Assessment regulations in general consolidate previous legislation with some tweaks and additions but the biggest change to the regime involves a requirement for Councils to consider whether ongoing monitoring is appropriate.
Fights have continued to break out between developers and local authorities regarding the meaning of Paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework as well as paragraph 49 relating to housing supply with the (very) general consensus being that the National Planning Policy Framework does not override the primacy of the development plan and therefore a lack of 5 year housing supply alone will not guarantee permission although it is an important material consideration which could outweigh it.
Following introduction of the Self Build regulations in 2016 more and more applications for self build and contractor self build have been submitted (and permitted) as Council's struggle to meet the need in their area in accordance with their new duties.
Regulations in relation to Starter Homes have yet to materialise and the amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework are still awaited albeit rumour has it that a consultation will come out in the Spring.
What to expect in 2018
As mentioned at the start of this update the new fees order comes into effect on 17th January, the idea being that our local planning departments will soon have more money to invest into their services and offer a better turnaround on applications.
The latest permission in principle regulations come into effect in June 2018 and developers will be able to submit applications for permission in principle and technical consent giving another route to obtaining planning permission for housing led development.
Further regulations under the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 in relation to neighbourhood planning are due to come into force on 31st January.
We are told to expect a green paper on social housing from central government, a Labour Party review of the planning system as well as a review by the Town & Country Planning Association. Consultation on detailed Community Infrastructure Levy reform should also come forward and of course more changes to the permitted development order are expected so not a quiet year ahead it would seem!
For further information on any of the above including specific advice regarding your planning application or development proposal or training for your staff or offices contact Nikki Fonseka, Head of Planning by calling 01603 974860 or email NFonseka@clapham-collinge.co.uk
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