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Lewis confirms that permissions in principle will be housing-led

by on December 10, 2015

Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis has told Parliament that the Government intends permission in principle (PiP) for the development of certain land to be limited to “housing-led development”.

That clarification came during exchanges during the committee stage of the housing and planning bill. The legislation allows the Communities Secretary to make regulations granting PiP for the development of land allocated in “a qualifying document”. This covers local plans, neighbourhood plans and the new statutory registers of brownfield land.

In committee last week the minister stressed that development must be housing-led in order to qualify for PiP. But he also made it clear that secondary legislation yet to be introduced by the Government would allow for mixed-uses to be included in housing-led developments.

Lewis confirmed: “As long as a site allocation includes residential development, local authorities will be able to grant PiP for other uses.”

The minister also explained that the Communities Secretary would have “no direct role in choosing which sites to grant PiP to”. He said the Communities Secretary’s role would be to make development orders providing for PiPs to be granted by certain types of document and to “maintain oversight of how the PiP system will work, including issuing statutory guidance”.

The minister promised consultation on how the new regime will operate including procedural matters for councils when granting a PiP.

Meanwhile government amendments which would allow the Communities Secretary to ask the Mayor of London or a combined authority to prepare a development plan have been inserted into the bill.

Lewis said these new provisions would enable more “targeted and appropriate intervention where a local planning authority has failed to take action to get a plan in place”.

View the transcript of the debate

Roger Milne

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