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Professional Standards And Advocacy

The blog by Nigel Pearce yesterday, see below, has created something of a Twitter storm around the issue of just how objective should a planning consultant be when working for a client in support of scheme. Well, it would be easy to say that you never hear of a consultant telling a client their sche...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 June 2018

Structural Dishonesty In The Planning System

Underneath the topsoil of local councils and developers in England, and presumably elsewhere in the UK, lies a substratum of consultants, both national and international, who are making a great deal of money out of the planning system. When developers employ consultants to carry out sustainability ...

Posted by Nigel Pearce on 17 June 2018

Why Land Squandering Goes On And On And On

One of the great mysteries of planning in this country is why the most densely populated country in Europe goes on squandering its land with the lowest residential density development in Europe. I must apologise to readers outwith England here, as it-apos-s England I-apos-m referring to, though land...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 02 June 2018

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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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