Key changes to the planning regime including a neighbour consultation system for larger household extensions, a new arrangement allowing developers with major schemes to bypass poorly performing planning authorities and the opportunity to renegotiate s106 agreements, have all now become law following Royal Assent for the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, while under the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, among other initiatives, designation and consent processes will be adjusted to reflect plans related to the draft Heritage Bill of 2008 and later consultations.
On the Growth and Infrastructure Act becoming a Bill, Planning Portal writes:
… There will be a three-year ‘window’ when developers will be able to renegotiate section 106 agreements which have made a scheme economically unviable. The Department for Communities and Local Government said it expects this new measure will unblock developments which involve around 75,000 new homes, currently stalled, because the schemes are no longer viable.
Developers will be able to submit planning applications directly to PINS where the relevant local authority has been placed in a ‘special measures’ category because it has consistently failed to consider planning applications on time.
The reforms also contain measure affecting town and village greens. The legislation removes an overlapping consent process from the registration system, The Act also includes measures to simplify the planning system including a limit on the information a local authority can require to be submitted alongside a planning application.
In addition the Growth and Infrastructure Act establishes a streamlined regime designed to speed up the roll-out of broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘The common sense reforms in this Act will make it possible for local businesses to grow and to create the jobs and opportunities people need to get on in life whilst ensuring democratic checks and environmental safeguards remain in place.’
Planning Minister Nick Boles said: ‘These new laws will reform our economy so it can boost investment, growth and jobs by streamlining a lot of confusing and overlapping red tape that all too often gets in the way of people’s everyday lives.’
DBIS writes of the ERR Act on it becoming a Bill:
The Act will bring in a new regime giving shareholders more say on directors’ pay, improve dispute resolution through reform of Employment Tribunals, establish the new Competition and Markets Authority and enshrine the aims of the Green Investment Bank.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said ‘The measures in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act will support the UK’s enterprise culture and help make it one of best places to do business. It will put in place fairer systems for directors’ pay, create a world-class competition regime, support the Green Investment Bank and improve our employment system. This will help businesses to start up, grow and employ more people.’
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act passed by Parliament today aims to support long term growth through a range of measures which:
· make sure there is a link between directors’ pay and long-term company performance by giving shareholders of UK quoted companies binding votes on directors’ pay. Shareholders will now have the power to hold companies to account and companies will need to listen to what they say;
· create a better employment tribunal system by encouraging parties to come together to settle their dispute before an employment tribunal claim is lodged, through Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services’ (Acas) early conciliation and greater use of settlement agreements;
· close a loophole in whistleblowing protections which will only allow individuals to whistleblow in matters of public interest. This prevents workers from making a whistleblowing claim at an employment tribunal for purely private matters such as problems with their own individual contract. It will also introduce greater protection for individuals from harassment when they blow the whistle at work;
· establish a new Competition and Markets Authority, bringing together the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission. This will be the UK’s lead competition authority with wide ranging powers to tackle anti-competitive behaviour, and a faster, clearer and more effective approach to help make markets work well for consumers. The competition regime will sustain fair and dynamic markets, encouraging businesses to set up and invest in the UK;
· take forward a number of measures announced through the government’s Red Tape Challenge, including changes so that in future civil claims for breach of health and safety duties can only be brought where it can be proved an employer has been negligent. It also establishes the principle that an employer should always have the opportunity, even where a strict duty applies, to defend themselves on the basis of having taken all reasonable steps to protect their employees;
· modernise the UK’s copyright regime to promote innovation in the design industry, encouraging investment in new products while strengthening copyright protections. Creating a level playing field for collecting societies and the thousands of small businesses and organisations who deal with them by strengthening the existing regulatory regime. For the first time orphan works will be licensed for use; these are copyrighted works for which the owner of the copyright is unknown or can’t be found. There will also be a system for extended collective licensing of copyright works;
· enshrine the goals and independence of the UK Green Investment Bank in law, making sure in the longer term that it will always focus solely on the green economy. It also gives government a new power to finance the Bank with initial funding of £3 billion to March 2015. These measures will help the Bank to mobilise long-term private investment in the UK’s transition to a greener economy; and
· create a power to give consumers the right to view and download the data businesses hold on them in an electronic format. This will help stimulate developers to create new data management tools and services;
· simplify regulation through reduced inspection burdens; repeal unnecessary laws and time-limit new laws so that there are only ever relevant and necessary laws in place and extend the Primary Authority Scheme to provide consistent regulatory advice to thousands more small firms.
The Act has also been a vehicle for a wide range of repeals and reforms to existing law.
English Heritage writes of the ERR Act:
The Act includes a number of changes to the legal framework affecting heritage in England which will provide new and simpler ways to protect and manage heritage assets. These reforms are:
· New Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements
· Introduction of a system of Local and National Listed Building Consent Orders
· Introduction of Certificates of Lawfulness of Works to Listed Buildings
· Conservation Area Consent replaced with requirement for planning permission
· More precise listed building entries
· Certificates of Immunity from listing can be sought at any time.
Most will be subject to detailed secondary legislation and are so are not yet in force, though the listing proposals (requiring the significance of heritage assets to be defined) become active in June.
Changes which affect the management of listed buildings and the merger of Conservation Area Consent and Planning Permission will take longer to prepare, as secondary legislation will be needed. We expect a public consultation later this year on the details of these new measures.
Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release on the Growth and Infrastructure Act at: LINK
Read the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills news release on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill at: LINK
See English Heritage’s report on the ERR Act at: LINK
Search Planning Portal: LINK