Chief Planning Officer at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG), Steve Quartermain, has written to England’s local authorities to say that the government intends to publish a draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) before Easter, and on issues such as Local Housing, Community Infrastructure, pre-commencement regulations, plan-making Regulations and that ‘Planning practice guidance will be updated where appropriate in due course’.
Steve Quartermain writes:
NPPF timetable update
We are currently revising the NPPF in order to implement our planning reform package from the housing White Paper, the Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation and the announcements at Autumn Budget. We intend to publish a draft revised NPPF before Easter. We will consult on both new policies from the Budget, and the text of the Framework, to make sure the wording is clear, consistent and well-understood. Our ambition is to publish a final revised Framework in the summer.
Local Housing Need transitional arrangements
In our Planning for the right homes in the right places consultation in September we set out that the new standardised method should be used, unless the plan will be submitted for examination on or before 31 March 2018, or before the revised Framework is published (whichever is later). In light of the timetable set out above these transitional arrangements will apply to any plans submitted before the final revised Framework is published.
Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations
On the 24 January, Parliament considered regulations amending Regulation 128A of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations. Subject to final parliamentary approval, these regulations are expected to be formally made and come into force in February. During consideration, Dominic Raab, Minister for Housing and Planning, made clear that the amendment was intended to provide legal certainty in line with the Government’s original policy intent.
Consultation on pre-commencement regulations
A consultation exercise is seeking views on proposed regulations (Draft Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018). When brought into force, S100ZA of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 will prohibit the imposition of a pre-commencement condition on a grant of planning permission without the written agreement of the applicant. The proposed regulations would exempt local planning authorities from the requirement to obtain the written agreement of an applicant before imposing a pre-commencement condition on a grant of planning permission in the following circumstances:
- the local planning authority (or Secretary of State) has given notice in writing to the applicant that if planning permission is granted they intend to impose the pre-commencement condition specified in the notice, and
- the applicant does not provide a substantive response to the notice by the date specified in the notice
This consultation will assist in the Government’s commitment to improve the use of planning conditions.
The consultation will run from 30th January for 4 weeks. Further information can be found online here.
The Local Plan Regulations and associated commencement regulations which I outlined in my Planning Update newsletter of 21 December 2017, have been approved by Parliament.
Regulation 22 (submission of documents and information to the Secretary of State) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulation 2012 has been amended from 15 January 2018, so that local authorities may submit either a digital or paper copy. While most authorities are expected to submit digital documents, the Planning Inspectorate may still request paper copies of particular documents where necessary.
New arrangements for the production of Statements of Community Involvement, which set out your policies for involving communities and other interested parties in the preliminary stages of plan-making, will come into force on 31 July 2018, further details are available here. To avoid slowing down emerging plans, this requirement applies only to development plan documents that have not yet complied with Regulation 18(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012 before 31 July 2018.
Finally, following the laying of statutory instruments in December and commencement regulations made in January, further neighbourhood planning reforms will commence on 31 January 2018. These reforms introduce new streamlined procedures for modifying neighbourhood plans and areas. They also change the procedures for notifying neighbourhood planning groups about planning applications in their area.
Planning practice guidance will be updated where appropriate in due course.
Read the article at Planning Portal