Monthly Archives: December 2016


Development allowed! The Neighbourhood Planning Bill


Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood plans can be a nightmare, raising a whole lot of controversy, decision changes and even resignations!

We regularly follow neighbourhood planning cases to keep up with developments and changes in government responses to consultations on neighbourhood planning.

Four cases of interest were recently brought to our attention:

We also track planning cases in different areas of the country. We are always looking at the initial planning discussions, designations, referendums and current status.

Read more>

On 16th December 2016 the government responded to consultations on the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

The DCLG has published the Government response to two consultations on measures contained in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. These are:

1. Implementation of neighbourhood planning provisions in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Government response: read here>

2. Improving the use of planning conditions: Government response read here>

Here is a summary of the Bill:

  • Contains provisions to strengthen neighbourhood planning
  • The government wishes to take account of well-advanced neighbourhood plans by giving neighbourhood plans full force as soon as they have passed referendum
  • The Bill introduces a process to allow the modification of neighbourhood plans and facilitates the modification of neighbourhood areas where a neighbourhood plan has already been made in relation to that area

The government consulted on these proposed regulations covering four areas:

The government decided to put into action all four proposals as set out in the consultation.

  • The detailed procedures for modifying neighbourhood plans
  • Modifying designated neighbourhood areas where a neighbourhood plan has already been made in relation to that area
  • A requirement for local planning authorities to review their Statements of Community involvement at regular intervals
  • A requirement for local planning authorities to publish their policies on the advice and assistance they will give to neighbourhood planning groups

The main interest to house builders will be the decision by the government that significant modifications to a made neighbourhood plan may now be made through a streamlined procedure involving an examiner considering paper-based submissions.

A made neighbourhood plan will also remain in force even where the boundaries of the neighbourhood area are amended or a new neighbourhood area is designated.

In addition to that, the government has re-stated its commitment to financially resource any additional costs to local authorities that result from the new statutory obligations.

Improving the use of planning conditions

The government has responded to its consultation on improving the use of planning conditions. It was concerned that too many overly restrictive and unnecessary conditions are nearly always attached to planning permissions, with little regard given to the additional costs and delays. The government has decided to implement all its proposals, with some amendments, despite opposition from local authorities.

Pre-commencement conditions

The government said that pre-commencement conditions can only be used with the agreement of the applicant. This clarifies existing best practice already articulated in the Planning Practice Guidance. By introducing a requirement for the local authority to seek the agreement of the applicant the government is placing best-practice on a statutory footing.

The government has rejected the proposal of a dispute resolution service as an alternative. It concluded that this would be ineffective as local authorities might only rely on this to avoid meaningful engagement early in the application process.

Default period after which an applicant’s agreement would be deemed to be given

If the local authority communicates to the applicant its intention to impose a pre-commencement condition, a set period of time needs to be established to allow the applicant to agree to that proposed pre-commencement condition. The government will set the default period to 10 working days.

Prohibiting specific types of planning conditions

The government has decided that six types of conditions (referred to in Table 1 of the consultation document) will be prohibited by legislation. These conditions do not meet the six policy tests set out in paragraph 206 of the NPPF. These are:

1. Conditions which unreasonably impact on the deliverability of a development – e.g. disproportionate financial burden;

2. Conditions which reserve outline application details;

3. Conditions which require the development to be carried out in its entirety;

4. Conditions which duplicate a requirement for compliance with other regulatory requirements – e.g. building regulations;

5. Conditions requiring land to be given up;

6. Positively worded conditions requiring payment of money or other consideration.

There are various exceptions and exemptions under these six headings that members will need to be aware of.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our customers, clients and friends a Happy Christmas and much success in the New Year.

Any feedback you may have on our articles is always welcome. We value opinions, updates and appreciate you sharing our content.

Here is a little recap of our articles from 2016…

News bulletin: Government’s crisis plan delayed! Read more>

The white paper that will tackle the housing crisis and give details on the one million new homes that will be built by 2020 has been delayed. The much- anticipated document won’t be under the Christmas tree this year. Read more>

The RTPI’s 16 ways to address the housing crisis. Read more>

From start to finish – How quickly do large-scale housing sites deliver? Read more>

Hammond on housing – The Autumn Statement Summary Read more>

10 top tips about the Community Infrastructure Levy Read more>

The examination of local planning Read more>

What does Sadiq Khan’s victory mean for housing in London? Read more>

Let’s get Britain building Read more>

‘Step into my office’ – with Jo Hanslip Read more>

Sadiq Khan reveals a city for all Londoners Read more>

The Heathrow Expansion Read more>

Look out for our housing predictions for 2017 coming soon!

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News bulletin: Government’s crisis plan delayed


Government's housing white paper delayed

News bulletin: Government’s crisis plan delayed!

What’s the latest on housing and where is that whitepaper?

The white paper that will tackle the housing crisis and give details on the one million new homes that will be built by 2020 has been delayed. The much anticipated document won’t be under the Christmas tree this year.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London has admitted that the white paper aimed at setting out what the government is going to do to boost and improve the UK housing supply has been delayed until January 2017. Bad Santa! We say this in jest.

The recent Autumn Statement Summary introduced on November 23rd, suggested that the housing whitepaper was about to be published.  The whitepaper will look at key issues around the new £2.3 billion fund to produce infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.

Mr Khan told the House of Commons that the details of billions of pounds of funding will be set out in a range of ‘radical plans’ to boost the nation’s housing supply.

It is estimated that the UK population is set to increase by 10 million in the next 25 years, leading to an even greater demand for homes and the property industry has pointed out that the Government is currently failing to meet its own target of 250,000 new homes a year.

Next year’s housing white paper will hopefully cement the government’s commitment to housebuilding. The capital really needs an achievable housebuilding target.

What could be on the horizon?

  • An enthusiastic approach, along with a sensible set of targets and a commitment to delivery. It will be a reassuring step forward in solving the housing crisis
  • Private rented communities – what will happen next? Direct government support and promotion of the private rented sector, with continued investor interest as local planning authorities continue to evolve their opinion of Build to Rent developments
  • Continue to support the growth of the Build to Rent market with recognised discount market rent as an affordable alternative and almost certainly, we will see further support for institutional investment in this area
  • Retirement housing? The majority of government support sits with the first-time buyer end of the market and lacks incentives at the other end of the spectrum. How will they tackle that?
  • Over-occupation of larger residential property is a concern but there are some exciting developers such as Pegasus Life who are making a strong case for continued investor interest in the retirement living sector
  • Continued innovation across the industry from the likes Legal & General. Pocket Living and many others is bringing promise for the future of construction delivery, given the pressures on skilled labour
  • There is an untapped pot of equity that could be released if suitable developments, in strategic locations, are provided. Emerging markets such as Build to Rent will likely drive this vision
  • While the green-belt development discussion has its merits, housing should not be considered purely on the basis of land availability
  • Housing, which forms part of a community’s infrastructure, must also be included in the conversation with policy-makers in areas such as healthcare, transport and education

We recommend that you visit for further reading about the government’s policy on housing. The government is helping local councils and developers work with local communities to plan and build better places to live for everyone. This includes building affordable housing, improving the quality of rented housing, helping more people to buy a home, and providing housing support for vulnerable people.



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