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Briefings

Member Briefing: Queen’s Speech heralds further legislation to tackle planning conditions

Date: 18/05/16

Queen’s Speech heralds further legislation to tackle planning conditions

Announcing its legislative plans for the year ahead, the Government has used the Queen’s Speech to confirm that a new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill will be introduced to Parliament in the coming months.

Coming just days after the Housing and Planning Act gained Royal Assent, the new Bill will tackle the ‘overuse, and in some cases, misuse’ of planning conditions as well as strengthening neighbourhood planning, streamlining the compulsory purchase order (CPO) process and reforming the Land Registry.

The Bill reflects concerns raised by the Home Builders Federation that excessive use of pre-commencement planning conditions is stifling supply, and in particular, slowing down house builders from starting on site. This issue has, most recently, been a feature of the discussions with Government ministers and officials in advance of last week’s announcement of a ‘shared ambition’ to increase housing delivery. Through this legislation, the Government also hope to introduce significant reform of the CPO process, including compensation based on market value.

Draft legislation on the Law of Property will also be put forward. The Draft Bill will be informed by a 2011 Law Commission study, Making Land Work and aims to simplify laws around land ownership including in relation to land obligations, covenants and easements.

HBF will be working with Government over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the Bill’s provisions are workable, robust and effective in supporting growth in housing supply.

The summary of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, outlined below, is taken from the Government’s Queen’s Speech background briefing note

Amongst the other Bills to be introduced over the coming months is a Local Growth and Jobs Bill to devolve more powers over Business Rates; a Lifetime Savings Bill which will introduce the Lifetimes ISA Wales Bill to clarify the division of powers between Westminster and Cardiff; and a Digital Economy Bill to improve households’ access to fast broadband connections.

Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill summary

Planning Conditions

  • To ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions are only imposed by local planning authorities where they are absolutely necessary.
  • Excessive pre-commencement planning conditions can slow down or stop the construction of homes after they have been given planning permission.
  • The new legislation would tackle the overuse, and in some cases, misuse of certain planning conditions, and thereby ensure that development, including new housing, can get underway without unnecessary delay.

Neighbourhood Planning

  • To further strengthen neighbourhood planning and give even more power to local people.
  • The new legislation would also strengthen neighbourhood planning by making the local government duty to support groups more transparent and by improving the process for reviewing and updating plans.

Compulsory Purchase

  • To make the compulsory purchase order process clearer, fairer and faster for all those involved.
  • Including reform of the context within which compensation is negotiated – often a very significant and complex part of finalising a compulsory purchase deal. Our proposals, on which we have already consulted, would consolidate and clarify over 100 years of conflicting statute and case law. We would establish a clear, new statutory framework for agreeing compensation, based on the fundamental principle that compensation should be based on the market value of the land in the absence of the scheme underlying the compulsory purchase.

National Infrastructure Commission

  • To establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis. The Commission would provide the government with expert, independent advice on infrastructure issues by setting out a clear, strategic vision on the future infrastructure that is needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050.
  • To unlock economic potential across the UK and ensure that growth and opportunities are distributed across the country, boosting productivity and competitiveness through high-quality infrastructure.

Land Registry

  • The new legislation would enable the privatisation of Land Registry, which would support the delivery of a modern, digitally-based land registration service that will benefit the Land Registry’s customers, such as people buying or selling their home.
  • It could also return a capital receipt to the Exchequer to help reduce national debt.

 

David O’Leary

Policy Director