Notice - Background to the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Bill

21 April, 2003

The Government's Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill is currently being processed through Parliament.

The original version of the Bill completed its Committee Stage in the House of Commons in January but the Government has recently decided to recommit the Bill to the Standing Committee stage in order to bring forward additional provisions, which will end the Crowns immunity from planning control.

The importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated. Not only will the Bill deliver major changes to strategic spatial planning it also contains a number of proposals on the development control side that will be harmful to house builders. These include the abolition of outline planning consent, the end of repeat applications and an effective ban on twin-tracking of planning applications.

HBF has been lobbying hard to secure changes to the Bill. Working closely with our legal advisers Masons, and with input from HBF members, we have undertaken a line-by-line analysis of the Bill and have worked up detailed amendments to meet the concerns of house builders. HBF has targeted key parts of the legislation that cause most concern and where the Government might be persuaded to amend the Bill. These include clauses 40, 42 and 46 that relate to the statement of development principles, the power to decline to determine applications and the duration of planning permission and consent.

During the original Committee Stage we have held a number of briefings with MPs in an effort to assist in the formulation of robust and workable legislation that best serves the needs and objectives of all parties. All members of the Standing Committee received briefing notes from HBF and a number of one-to-one meetings were held. We have also identified a target list of peers that are likely to be sympathetic to HBFs position and a number of briefings are currently being scheduled.

On the Opposition benches we have enjoyed support from both the Conservative frontbench team and Liberal Democrat spokespersons. As a result of this alliance building MPs raised a number of our concerns during the Committee Stage. These included the possible abolition of outline planning consent and the end to twin-tacking of planning applications.

As a direct result of HBF lobbying the ODPM has indicated that it is sympathetic to the idea that a local planning authority should be allowed to grant outline planning permission even where a statement of development principles has been issued for a similar development within the previous three years.