Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (introduced to Parliament 11 May 2022)
Following the Queeens Speech on 10 May 2022, the UK Government introduced a new Bill which is wide-ranging and seeks to change the way in which powers can be devolved to Local Authorities. It also introduces reforms to the planning system in England and lays the foundations for delivering and ensuring all parts of the country share qually in our nation's success.
We have summarised the main points below.
New National Development Management Polices same weight as Local Plans
Material Considerations must “strongly” indicate otherwise
Neighbourhood Plans & Supplementary Plans have the same weight as Local Plans
Introduction of Neighbourhood Priority Statements
Compulsory Design Codes
Environmental Outcomes Report to replace SEA, HRA & EIAs
Planning Authorities will be expected to comply with technical standards
Removal of 5 year land supply requirement during the first 5 years of the local plan
Duty to cooperate to be replaced with a more flexible alignment test, set out in later policy
Planning authorities may notify a public body to assist them in the plan making process, the public body must do everything that is reasonably required of them
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to be replaced with new ‘Infrastructure Levy’
Loss of 4 year rule for lawful certificates, all 10 years
New National Development Management Policies (NDMPs) & Development Plans:
The idea behind the new structure is to reduce the time it takes to produce a plan and to make local plans easier to navigate. Increase productivity
NDMP - issues applying to most areas (heritage, Green Belt etc) will be set out through national development management policies which are given the same weight as development plans. Definition of what NDMP is yet to be determined. Weight of NPPF not certain (it is material consideration now)
Local issues will be dealt with through the development plan which consists of, but not limited to, the local plan, supplementary documents, Design Codes, Minerals & Waste Plans, Spatial Development Strategies & Neighbourhood Plans
If the Local Plan conflicts with the NDMP, then the decision must be made in accordance with the NDMP
No policies are to be repeated from the NDMP likewise across any development plans
Local Plans (LPs) - removal of requirement for authorities to maintain a rolling five-year housing land supply where their Local Plan has been adopted in the last five years. Local Plans are excepted to be developed inside 30 months and renewed at least every five years. Relationship to other planning documents unclear
Provisions for planning inspectors to provide guidance before plan reaches examination. LP commissioners may be appointed by SoS if Local Authorities (LAs) fail to carry out their duties - either to help or take over the process.
Supplementary Plans (SPs) - for a specific site or group of sites - can include locations, infrastructure requirements and designs, can be combined
Spatial Development Strategies (SDSs) – produced by one or more authorities. An authority may withdraw before strategy is completed, if two or more authorities are left they can carry on, if not then plan ceases. Once strategy is completed can only withdraw 5 years after strategy starts unless all authorities withdraw. Joint plans can still exist instead of SDSs
Duty to Cooperate – will be abolished and replaced by alignment test of plans, test to be set out in later policy
Compulsory Design Codes (DCs) - LP accompanied by area wide DC, part of LP or in SP, compliance with DC is mandatory, LP may not have the design expertise or resources. Some LA areas are large with varying characters. Can be for a site or group of sites.
Neighbourhood Plans (NPs):
Clarifies the topics that can be included in the NP, policies include:
The amount, type and location of development and
Timetable for development in the plan period
Use or development of land designed to particular characteristic or circumstance of a given area
Requirements for infrastructure & affordable housing
Can set specific design standards for an area or group of areas from which planning applications are to be determined
Where Neighbourhood Plans do not yet exist Parish Councils and neighbourhood forums can produce a ‘Neighbourhood Priorities Statement’ which the local authority have to take into account when preparing its LP - can’t stop or alter the scale of development in LP
The NP must be designed to ensure that development and use of land contribute to the mitigation of & adaption to climate change
Must not be inconsistent with or repeat any NDMP
Must not prevent development where the local authority has allocated it or where the development would provide housing
Must comply with Environmental Outcomes Report (Part 5 of the Levelling-Up and Regeneration bill)
The neighbour plan must not reduce the amount of housing provided in the local plan.
Details yet to be confirmed
Householder development - Allow residents to design / extend housing
Development likely to be subject to conditions
Not applicable to listed buildings and other areas likely to be exempt
Technical data standards will be set which planning authorities will be expected to meet
“Planning data” is information provided to, or processed by, the authority for purposes concerning planning or development in England, including relevant planning enactment.
Aims for increased transparency
Simplification and standardisation of local plans and planning applications
New Infrastructure Levy:
Similar to ClL but different
Will be mandatory
Charged by value not a viability informed flat rate
Rates & thresholds to be set locally by planning authorities at a % of gross development value - more flexible
LAs must produce Infrastructure Delivery Strategies. They can require help from infrastructure providers and other bodies
Can be used by LA to fund Affordable Housing (AH)
Right to require - to remove negotiation in determining number of on-site AH
Negotiation for infrastructure provisions in larger sites will be allowed to be paid in-kind but the value of the negotiation cannot be less than what would be paid through the Levy.
IL is to be paid on asset sale. Definition of sale will be crucial
S106 agreements - scaled back S106 agreements designed to deliver on-site infrastructure requirements and environmental improvements. E.g. operational infrastructure, flood mitigation, play areas etc
Environmental Outcomes Report (EOR):
Environmental outcomes report to supersede SEA, EIA and HRA
SoS to set specified outcomes against which qualifying consents & plans will be assessed
Existing environmental assessment legislation will be amended
Outcomes subject to public consultation
In setting outcomes regard will be had to 25 year Environmental Plan & Environmental Improvement Plans including setting long-term & interim targets
SoS must be satisfied there is no overall reduction in the level of environmental protection provided by existing environmental law at the time the act is passed - likely to lead to disputes / challenges
Guidance to be produced on how plans & consents demonstrate they are supporting the delivery of EORs
SoS determines which plans require EOR - to be set out in subsequent regulations and split into 2 categories, always require EOR & require if meets criteria (like EIA schedules 1 and 2)
Must consider reasonable alternatives to any proposed mitigation which can be time consuming
Post completion effectiveness should be improved by greater attention to monitoring outcomes which may require action if there is an assessed need to increase delivery of an EOR.
EOR to incorporate heritage which is not outcome based at present
There will be general policies in the NDMP regarding heritage protection
LA must have “special regard” to “preserving and enhancing” a heritage asset that is to be affected by the development proposed in the planning application or plan in principle.
‘Special Regard’ is brought into the 1990 Planning Act for the first time
‘Preserving’ is expanded to ‘preserving or enhancing’.
Preserving and enhancing relates to any feature, quality or characteristic that has a significant contribution to the asset or its setting. (see clause 92)
Introduction of temporary stop notices - section 44A
Temporary stop notices can be issued by the LPA where it appears works have or are being carried out on a listed building that would result in a change of character on a building with special historic or architectural interest
The offender is liable to a fine if they do not stop
Greater power is given to carry out urgent works, including in listed buildings which are occupied and to reclaim the costs of doing so.
Authorities have a statutory requirement to maintain up to date ‘Historic Environment Records’ (Clause 185)
Now 5 types (instead of 4) - New Town DC, UDC, Mayoral DC, Locally-led New Town DC & Locally-led Urban Development Corporation (New)
Urban Development Corporations and New Town Development Corporations are given more power to, in essence, hold the same power as the Mayoral Development Corporation model. to become planning authorities, fin order to oversee local plan-making, neighbourhood planning and development management.
Mayoral Development Corporation have the same powers as above but can also decide on a case-by-case basis whether they should also be the minerals and waste planning authority.
Online publicity - map to be online, notices online on “appropriate websites” as well as in newspapers
Objectors are no longer entitled to a public local inquiry into the confirmation of the CPO (with limited exceptions)
The confirming authority decides if there will be an inquiry or the “representations procedure” should be pursued - “representations procedure” not yet specified
Confirming authorities can subject CPOs to conditions - to encourage CPOs to be made in conjunction with consenting & funding processes & to avoid re-starting again due to unresolved impediments.
Operative date delayed until all conditions are discharged and a fulfilment notice is issued.
Where appropriate the 3 year time limit can be extended to exercise of CPO powers, enabling a longer implementation period.
An agreement can be made the change the vesting date 3 months after notice to account for a change in circumstance e.g. relocation, date changes etc.