The Housing and Planning Bill, on Friday 13th May, gained Royal Ascent becoming an Act of Parliament. This followed agreement being reached between the House of Lords and the House of Commons on its final wording after a number of amendments as the Bill ‘ping ponged’ between the Houses.
The Department for Communities and Local Government described the Act as “having measures to help more people buy their own home and get houses built faster”. The measures include;
- support for the doubling of the number of custom and self-build homes,
- a requirement for 20% of new housing to be starter homes for first time buyers (see our previous article on Starter Homes https://www.clplanning.co.uk/?p=266 ),
- speeding up the neighbourhood planning process,
- the introduction of ‘permission in principle’ – a consenting mechanism, subject to the agreement of technical details, for sites identified in local plans and brownfield registers (further details of permissions in principle are available in our article https://www.clplanning.co.uk/?p=247 ), and
- the introduction of pilot schemes for alternative providers, rather than Local Planning Authorities, to process planning applications.
What does this mean for the Planning system?
Permissions in principle will provide greater certainty for applicants seeking to develop sites which have been identified as being suitable for housing led schemes. The timeframe for a consent being issued, which can be implemented should be reduced as once the principles of the development have been identified they will not need to be revisited. This also removes the opportunity for objections to be rerun. One of the benefits that permissions in principle will bring is the saving of costs from applications being refused on the basis that a site is unsuitable to deliver housing led developments. The introduction of permissions in principle places an emphasis on frontloading the planning process and securing the identification of sites in Local Plan allocations or other qualifying documents such as Brownfield registers.
What happens next?
We understand that the Act makes provision for pilot schemes for alternative providers and the requirement for Councils to keep registers of certain land types to be introduced with immediate effect. It is expected that later in the year we will see the parts of the Act relating to ‘permission in principle’ and starter homes come into effect.
Chapman Lily will provide further updates as the various provisions of the Act come into effect.
If you would like to discuss how the Act may impact on you, particularly with regard to permissions in principal, please contact us.