Changes to the Planning System
17th May 2013
The planning system is regarded by many, including the Government, to impinge on the opportunity to build or develop which in turn stifles the economy. The Government is therefore proposing to remove some of the red tape that is viewed to have taken a strangle hold on the construction industry. It is expected that by the end of May the first wave of changes will have been introduced, including the opportunity to extend existing houses and offices without the need for planning permission. The Government is also introducing the chance to change the use of agricultural buildings to a range of employment and tourist uses, as well as change offices to residential properties without the need for planning permission.
There are however a number of limitations to the changes. The first being that the window of opportunity will only exist for three years in the case of extensions. In addition, Local Authorities will also be able to block the Government's plans in certain circumstances, which include removing permitted development rights within Conservation Areas. It will take some time for local authorities to work out how to block the changes and then for them to follow the formal channels to remove the extended permitted development rights. The time it will take for local authorities to react means a short term opportunity will still exist.
Consultation on Revocation of the Yorkshire and Humber Plan
28th September 2012
DCLG has started consultation on the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the revocation of the Regional Strategy for Yorkshire and Humber. An earlier consultation took place last year, but it is understood it did not fully comply with EU Regulations and so further consultation has been necessary before the Government can proceed with the intention to abolish the RS. This version of the SEA recognises for the first time that the abolition of the RS could potentially impact upon policy matters, including the York Green Belt. Consultation ends on 25th November. It is expected that the RS will be abolished in 2013.
Statements of Positive and Proactive Engagement
6th September 2012
From 1st December 2012, Decision Notices will need to include a statement to set out how the local planning authority has proactively and positively engaged with the applicant through the application process and in reaching a decision. This requirement is a continuation of guidance introduced in the National Planning Policy Framework that requires local authorities to engage with applicants in a positive and proactive manner.
Extension to Time Limit for Extant Planning Approvals
6th September 2012
The Government considers development to be an important tool to aid economic recovery. The Government has therefore made an amendment to The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment No. 2) Order 2012 which means that from 1st October 2012, applications can be made to extend the time limit of existing planning permissions made on or before 1st October 2010. This measure has been introduced in order to make it easier for developers and local planning authorities to keep planning permissions alive so that they can more quickly be implemented when economic conditions improve.
DCLG to Relax Rules to Fly Flags
Expected October 2012
The government is expected to consult on measures to streamline the planning regulations to cut bureaucracy to make it easier for people to fly flags without the need for planning consent. Maybe this should have been happened ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics?
Calderdale Council to Consult on the Local Plan
10th September 2012
Earlier in the year, Calderdale Council announced the intension to prepare a Local Plan that would consist of two parts. Part One is to consist of the core strategy and Part Two will set out site allocations and designations. A Report is to be considered by Cabinet which outlines the Preferred Options version of Part One to the Local Plan. If approved at the Cabinet meeting on 10th September, the Council is expected to start consultation on the document in the weeks after the meeting.
The City of York Council 'Call for Sites'
29th August 2012
The City of York Council is asking for people to notify them of sites to be considered for development before 12th October. This consultation represents the first stage of preparing a Local Plan to set out a policy framework for development over the next 15 years or so. The Council will need to take account of any previous undersupply and future development needs. The Council will also need to establish Green Belt boundaries.
North London Waste Plan Fails the Duty to Cooperate
31st August 2012
Seven local authorities (Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest), who jointly prepared the North London Waste Plan, have been told by an Inspector that they have failed to satisfy the legal requirements of the Duty to Cooperate. The authorities failed because they did not consider waste flows outside of their area. Please see: http://www.nlwp.net/. This shows the importance of considering and demonstrating that the Duty to Cooperate has been satisfied prior to submission.
DCLG Consult on Regulations to Allow Renegotiation of Section 106 Planning Obligations
13th August 2012
The government is consulting on draft Regulation which will allow the renegotiation of S106 Agreements signed since 1st April 2010. The draft Regulations set out the opportunity for applicants to apply to local planning authorities to vary or amend S106 Agreements, and provisions for appeal if the local planning authority will not agree. The consultation ends in October and it is expected that the Regulations will come into effect one month after publication.
Rotherham Preparing to Submit the Core Strategy
6th August 2012
Rotherham Council has today completed consultation on the Core Strategy ahead of the submission of the document to the Planning Inspectorate who will examine whether it is 'sound'. The proposed housing target is lower than necessary to meet future housing needs, which appears to be due to the restrictions on land availability created by the Green Belt. It is understood that neighbouring Sheffield City Council has objected to the housing target because of fears that the under provision of housing will affect the economy of Sheffield by limiting the available labour pool.
Proposal to Change the Planning Application Fee Regime
3rd August 2012
The Localism Act included provisions which would allow a local planning authority to determine planning application fees in order to recoup the cost of providing the service. Following consultation, the government has however decided to instead introduce a 15% increase in the national fee structure. It is currently unclear when the increase will come into effect, but it may coincide with the next Budget announcement.
Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Revocation of the East of England Regional Strategy
25th July 2012
Following earlier SEA consultation on the revocation of each of the regional strategies, the government has now decided to undertake further consultation. It is understood that the initial consultation was not sufficient to meet EU requirements. The government is currently consulting on the East of England Plan until the end of September with consultation on the other regional strategies yet to take place. The delay in the revocation of regional strategies should provide a period of stability during which local planning authorities can progress Local Plans to adoption.
DCLG Publishes Results to Relaxation of Planning Rules Consultation
3rd July 2012
The government has published details of a number of actions they intend to take after consulting on "Relaxation of planning rules for change of use from commercial to residential" earlier in the year. The response to the consultation sets out the reasons for wording that appears in paragraph 51 of the NPPF, which adopts a positive stance towards the change of use from business use to residential. It also includes the intension to allow under permitted development the right to convert space above shops to two flats.
DCLG Consulting on Changes to Rules Relating to the Reuse of Existing Buildings
3rd July 2012
Until 11th September, the government is consulting on changes which will extend the range of permitted development rights associated with existing buildings. The changes being consulted upon include changes to agricultural buildings to support a wider range of uses; increasing the threshold for change of use between B1 and B8 from B2, B1 and B8; introduce change of use for a temporary period of two year under permitted development; change hotels, boarding and guest houses to houses under permitted development; and provide further updates to the Use Class Order.
York Core Strategy is Abandoned
17th May 2012
Following the decision to support the extension to Monk's Cross, the Council has withdrawn the Core Strategy. The decision was made because the Core Strategy did not take account of the strategic significance of the proposal, so amendments were necessary. However, the process was too far progressed to allow the amendments to be made without severe disruption to the Examination process. In addition, the Inspector had already raised significant concerns in relation to a number of matters, including the approach towards Green Belt. The Council has now decided to prepare a Local Plan, which will incorporate all development plan matters, including strategic policies, site allocations and development management policies.
Exploratory Meeting to Discuss the City of York Core Strategy
12th March 2012
An Inspector has been appointed to examine the soundness of the York Core Strategy. Following his initial review of the submitted documents, the Inspector, David Vickery, has raised a number of significant concerns, which are centred around how the Council has failed to identify a 'Plan B' in case a number of strategic development proposals fail to materialise. The Inspector has, therefore, scheduled an Exploratory Meeting for 23rd April to discuss his concerns. The City of York Council will then need to decide whether to withdraw the Core Strategy, undertake more work, or proceed with the Examination which is currently scheduled for June 2012.
Neighbourhood Planning 5th Wave Front Runners Announced
5th March 2012
Following publication of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulations, the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced the fifth wave of Front Runners. Under the scheme, local planning authorities will receive funds to help communities and local authorities familiarise themselves with the new powers. Directions Planning Consultancy approached Leeds CC, Harrogate BC and Ryedale DC on behalf of community organisations who had expressed an interest in preparing neighbourhood plans and the bids for £20,000 per community were successful.
Neighbourhood Planning Regulations are Published
1st March 2012
The Government has now published the long awaited Neighbourhood Planning Regulations. The Regulations set out the procedures and process to the neighbourhood planning provisions that were created in the Localism Act 2011. The Regulations explain how to go about creating a neighbourhood forum, the process for preparing neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development orders, as well as the requirements to be able to utilise the community right to build powers. The Regulations will come into force on 6th April, which will then allow parish councils and neighbourhood forums to apply to the local planning authority for acknowledgement of the intention to prepare a neighbourhood plan.
National Infrastructure Planning
20th February 2012
In advance of the Budget, the Prime Minister has delivered a speech on infrastructure in which he indicates that the Government will be considering the construction of new "Garden Cities" in areas of high growth potential. In 2007, bids for Eco-towns and Growth Point Status were invited by the Government. Several proposals arose in Yorkshire and the Humber, including in Doncaster, Selby, Leeds, Barnsley and Craven. These schemes may now be revisited under the new arrangements. In his speech, the Prime Minister also set out details of the ways in which private sector capital will be harnessed to help achieve the building and upgrading of nationally significant infrastructure, such as transport corridors, intermodal connections and communications and utilities networks. More detail is expected to follow, including consultation on the matters. We are keen to see how these arrangements align with the Community Infrastructure Levy imposed on developers by local authorities.
Government Consults on Changes to Building Regulations
31st January 2012
The Government is currently consulting on changes to Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of fuel and power) that will for the first time affect improvements to existing houses, such as extensions and loft conversions. The proposed changes will also require developers to meet tougher fabric efficiency standards for both domestic and non-domestic development projects. However, local planning authorities who attempt to introduce Code for Sustainable Homes or BREEAM standards earlier than necessary will be required to justify such requirements through viability testing.
Ryedale Consult on the Core Strategy
25th January 2012
Ryedale District Council has published the Core Strategy for consultation. The document sets out the Vision for the district over the next fifteen years intended to shape investment and future development. It also refers to the role and level of growth planned for individual settlements, such as Malton and Pickering. Following consultation which ends on 9th March, all comments received and the document will be submitted to the Secretary of State. An Inspector will be appointed to hold a Public Examination to test the soundness of the Core Strategy.
Selby Publish Amendments to the Core Strategy
5th January 2012
Following the adjournment of the Public Examination, the Council has published a series of proposed changes which are intended to make the Core Strategy sound. The key changes include a policy outlining the triggers for a Green Belt review, an increase to the proposed housing target, an extension to the plan period and an approach to deal with issues in Tadcaster around the amount of land available for development. Consultation on the changes is to end on 15th February and it is expected that the Examination will be opened again later this year.
Harrogate BC Make Changes to Planning Application Fee Payment
1st January 2012
From 1st January 2012, Harrogate Borough Council will no longer accept cash or cheques, and provide a receipt, in payment of planning application fees at the planning reception desk at Knapping Mount. Instead, cash and cheques will be accepted, and a receipt issued, at Scottsdale House, although the planning application cannot be checked by the council staff at this reception desk. Alternatively, the local planning authority will accept payment online or by credit or debit card. For Direction Planning Consultancy clients in Harrogate district, this means that payment will need to be made online and the receipt number noted on the application form. Alternatively, the application can be submitted with a note asking the validation team at Harrogate BC to take payment over the telephone. It should be noted that the Council will add a 1.5% surcharge on credit card payments.
Publication of Annual Monitoring Reports and Local Development Schemes to end in the New Year
6th December 2011
Local authorities will be required to submit Annual Monitoring Reports for the last time this year. In future years, local authorities will no longer be required to submit Annual Monitoring Reports to the Secretary of State, due to a clause in the Localism Act which will come into effect on 15th January 2012. The clause also affects Local Development Schemes, so the submission of LDSs to the Secretary of State will not be required after the 15th January. It is understood that the Secretary of State has written to local authorities to notify them of the change.
Changes to Permitted Development Rights for Domestic Microgeneration
1st December 2011
Changes to permitted development rights for domestic microgeneration take effect from 1st December. The biggest change is that planning permission is no longer required for the installation of solar panels on blocks of flats or within the grounds of blocks of flats. Also, permission is no longer required for situations where solar panels might be seen from a highways within Conservation Areas. Instead, only where panels are to be erected on a wall of a house or on a building within the grounds of a house within a Conservation Area and where it fronts a highway will permission be required. The change allows for solar panels to be mounted on roofs fronting a highway within Conservation Areas. Relaxing permitted development rights is intended to encourage homeowners to retrofit solar systems despite the recent reduction in the Feed in Tariff from 8th December.
Government publishes its Housing Strategy 'Laying the Foundations'
24 November 2011
The Government has published its new housing strategy. Affordable housing providers are expected to share almost £1.8bn cash to develop new affordable homes, news that comes the same week as the Homes and Communities Agency reports a drop of 97% in affordable housing starts. To help first-time buyers, the Government will guarantee 100,000 new mortgages at up to 95 per cent loan to value for new build properties in England. Twenty five of the UK's builders have agreed to participate in the scheme, including Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. On the supply side, the strategy focuses on local solutions that have been driven through the Localism Act and National Planning Policy Framework, such as the Community Right to Build. The Government also aims to release enough public sector land to build 100,000 homes. The strategy points out that further detail will soon be made available on the Government's approach to large scale planned development.
Duty to Co-operate Takes Effect
15th November 2011
A clause in the Localism Act now requires local authorities to consult and engage with neighbouring authorities in the preparation of Local Plans. The requirement will not affect those local authorities where a Local Development Document has already been published and submitted to the Secretary of State. The clause will however apply to any Local Development Documents that are submitted from enactment of the Act. Local authorities will now need to demonstrate that the requirements of the Duty to Cooperate clause have been fulfilled.
Localism Bill Becomes Law
15 November 2011
After nearly a year passing through the Houses of Parliament, the Localism Bill has now received Royal Assent. The Government expects most of the Clauses to be commenced before April 2012, which will see a fundamental shift in powers from central government to local people. The Act will see a number of changes to the planning system, including the deletion of Regional Strategies, introduction of Neighbourhood Plans, changes to planning enforcement rule and the introduction of local planning authorities being able to run planning departments on a not-for-profit basis.
Leeds City Council Submits Neighbourhood Planning Forerunner Bids to DCLG
4 November 2011
Leeds City Council has applied to the Department for Communities and Local Government for funding to support the preparation of four neighbourhood plans across the district. Bids have been submitted on behalf of Boston Spa, Otley, Holbeck and Kippax where the communities have expressed an interest in the preparation of neighbourhood plans under provisions to be introduced through the Localism Bill. Directions Planning Consultancy has provided initial advice to Otley Town Partnership and assisted Otley Town Council with their request for funding to Leeds City Council for a Community Led Plan.
East Riding Consults on the Core Strategy
31 October 2011
East Riding Council is undertaking consultation on a preferred option for the distribution of development across the district and a new housing target for the district. East Riding Council is proposing to increase the housing target from that set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy. The document will be available for comment until 19th December 2011.
Bradford City Council Consults on the Core Strategy
28 October 2011
Following consultation on four spatial options in 2008, Bradford City Council is now consulting on a preferred option for the district. The consultation document includes housing targets for the individual villages and towns across the district, and also employment land targets. The document will be available for comment until 20th January 2012.
Ryedale District Council to Consult on the Core Strategy in January 2012
20 October 2011
Consultation on the Core Strategy was expected to begin in September 2011, but after the release of the draft NPPF, the Council has taken time to think through the implications. A Council Report suggests a draft of the Core Strategy will be presented to a special Council Meeting in December at which Members will be asked to approve the Submission version of the document for consultation. The Submissions version of the Core Strategy is then expected to be published in the New Year for six weeks of consultation.
Environmental Assessment on the Revocation of the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy Published for Consultation
20 October 2011
The Government has published a series of environmental assessments on which it is consulting ahead of the revocation of regional spatial strategies. Environmental assessments are required in order to appraise the implications of deleting regional spatial strategies in accordance with EU Directives.
DCLG Consults on Draft Neighbourhood Plan Regulations
13 October 2011
The Government has published a consultation version of the Regulations for preparing Neighbourhood Plans, and utilising Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build. The Regulations set out the minimum requirements to fulfil various Neighbourhood Planning provisions set out in the Localism Bill. The Regulations are expected to commence on 1st April 2012.
Selby Core Strategy 'Put on Ice'
10 October 2011
A Planning Inspector has decided to suspend proceedings after questioning the 'soundness' of the Core Strategy. Selby District Council has been told to complete further work in order for the Inspector to prepare his report. The work includes: a review of the Green Belt, justification of the housing requirement, and consideration of whether the distribution can be achieved in light of the housing target and Green Belt constraints. It is expected that the Examination will open again in Autumn 2012.
Changes to Permitted Development Rights for Domestic Microgeneration
6 September 2011
The Government is to introduce changes to permitted development rights from 1st December. The changes will mean that planning permission will no longer be required for certain types of renewable energy technologies, such as air source or water source heat pumps. Existing permitted development rights are also to be extended to include blocks of flats, so solar panels can be installed on the roof or within the grounds without need for planning permission.