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Predict And Arrive

I was recently challenged to produce a plan for building five million homes in over the next 50 years. My initial reaction was to react like the apocryphal bloke in deepest rural Ireland who, asked by a passing motorist the way to Limerick, replied that if he were going to Limerick, he wouldn-apos-t...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 20 November 2017

Affordability And Need

One of the big arguments put forward for the huge greenfield housing developments now being imposed by central government is that they would deliver so many homes they would lower house prices, and maybe even rents. The latest addition to this canon comes from the Royal Town Planning Institute which...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 08 November 2017

A Guide To The Greed Belt

A guide to green belts to address common misunderstandings is long overdue, but an organisation set up with the specific purpose of building more houses is not the body to provide it. In fact it is pretty much the worst possible author of such a publication. So I approached the Housing and Finance I...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 29 October 2017

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New Bill will limit council powers to impose conditions

Added on 09 September 2016

Developers are to be given the power to refuse to accept many pre-commencement conditions in planning consents as part of the new Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

The move was originally announced by the Treasury in the Budget and the Bill will include powers in England to weaken local planning authorities’ ability to impose conditions, along with changes to compulsory purchase and neighbourhood plans. The Bill proposes a simplification of the neighbourhood plan revision process and a simpler CPO process.

“The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we need to build more homes and this Bill is the first of a number of measures to deliver on that,” said planning minister Gavin Barwell.

DCLG has also issued consultation papers on planning conditions, neighbourhood plans and CPOs. The conditions paper says pre-commencement conditions should only be used in pursuit of National Planning Policy Framework requirements but councils would be able to “propose” conditions in relation to archaeology or wildlife, etc..

But applicants would be able to challenge any conditions they consider unnecessary, for instance, where they are capable of being discharged later.

So council planners, already under huge strain, would be burdened with the necessity of getting written agreement of developers to pre-commencement conditions. Although this is a consultation, the Government is already seeking the powers in the new Bill.

The Royal Town Planning Institute welcomed the Bill and the measures to speed up planning.

“The key issue in development management is to deliver excellent outcomes through an efficient process, which needs to work for all applicants and for current and future residents of communities,” it said. “We support the Government in seeking to address the issue of conditions but care should be taken to ensure there are no unintended consequences of change. We welcome the releasing of the consultation alongside the Bill to streamline the process.”

The Government has, however, not yet proceeded with reforms to the National Infrastructure Commission or privatization of the Land Registry.

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