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Greenfield Sites Have High Environmental Value Too

Over the years Wildlife and Countryside Link has provided a great way of joining environmental voices together and also mediating in those cases where countryside and wildlife protection come into conflict. So it can only be a matter of great regret that it has, once again, decided to take sides in ...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 18 September 2017

Fixing Our Brokered Housing Market

The grandly named new Government policy for Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places raises far more questions than answers, but the big one ministers will be asking is whether it will head off hostility from the rank-and-file at the upcoming party conference. Certainly the new methodology h...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 16 September 2017

Forever, For Everyone

Defending the environment for everyone, forever, is a pretty big ambition but that, at its most basic, is what sustainability means. But challenges do not come any bigger than promising things to everyone, forever. That ambition is, of course, what drives the National Trust and has done for more tha...

Posted by Jon Reeds on 10 September 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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