Friday, 6 December 2013

Local plans could be a legal requirement

New measures, which if adopted, will speed up the delivery of homes by cutting down unnecessary planning processes and providing more certainty about where sensible development should take place, have been welcomed in Kent.

Proposals outlined on 4 December are, according to the government, designed to boost house building and support businesses keen to expand by removing delays from the planning system, stopping burdensome conditions and cutting the costly red tape.

The changes will also provide more certainty for communities and developers by proposing to make it a legal requirement for local authorities to have a Local Plan in place. This will ensure councils engage with local people about where homes, businesses and services for their area should be located in the future.

The measures propose to:
  • Legislate so that when a council has failed to deal with details required by a condition on a planning permission on time, it will be treated as approved; and strengthen the requirement for councils to justify conditions which require more information before work can start.
  • Work with industry, local authorities and other interested parties to develop a pilot for passing a share of the benefits of development directly to individual households.

Items to be consulted on include:
  • Improving plan-making and making it a statutory requirement for a council to put a Local Plan in place; 76 per cent of councils currently have this published, helping shape where development should and shouldn’t go.
  • Cutting the number of applications where unnecessary statutory consultations take place while keeping the same level of environmental protections.

As experts at Maidstone-based DHA planning have pointed out, technically there is no legal requirement for authorities to produce one, however, all planning decisions should be made in accordance with the local plan. As a result, if a council doesn’t have a Local Plan it has less control over development, hence the incentive for authorities to produce one, and why it’s an on-going process for authorities across Kent.

Commenting on the proposals, Jonathan Buckwell, Director (Planning), DHA Planning said: “The development industry will welcome any sensible measures which help to reduce delays and ease the planning process and so it is encouraging that the Government continue to look for ways to achieve this. As always, the success of these measures will depend on how they are implemented and we look forward to seeing the detail in due course.”

Announcing the proposals, Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “These proposals mark an important next step in streamlining the planning system and ensuring it is able to work efficiently to support the development of new homes, infrastructure and jobs we need.

“They will also ensure communities are at the heart of the planning system and given the power to make the right decisions for their local area.”

No comments:

Post a Comment