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Ministers unveil detail of planning reforms and ‘financial benefits’ reporting

by on February 25, 2016

Ministers confirmed last week that the new requirement to set out the financial benefits of planning applications would be drawn widely.

It will go beyond “local finance considerations” (i.e. sums payable under the Community Infrastructure Levy and grants from central government like the New Homes Bonus).

The government has proposed that council tax revenue, business rate revenue and s106 payments should be included.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also clarified key detail over its proposals for permission in principle (PiP), brownfield registers, simplification of the neighbourhood plan process, changes to statutory consultation on planning applications and the new arrangements for section 106 dispute resolution.

It has also started consultation on changes to permitted development rights for state-funded free schools, which would mean these could open quickly on temporary sites and in temporary buildings while permanent sites are secured.

The government is also proposing to allow larger extensions to be made to school buildings in certain cases without the need for a planning application.

In respect of PiP, ministers have proposed that the so-called qualifying documents that can grant PiP on allocation should be future local plans, future neighbourhood plans and brownfield registers.

The administration has proposed that the only ‘in principle matters’ that should be determined as a part of a PiP should be the location, the uses and the amount of development. PiP should have duration of five years, ministers have also suggested.

Last year ministers committed to ensuring that 90 per cent of suitable brownfield sites should have planning permission for housing by 2020.

The consultation document suggested that planning authorities which failed to make “sufficient” progress against the brownfield objective would be unable to claim the existence of an up-to-date five year housing land supply.

In that case the presumption in favour of sustainable development would apply, the department said.

View the consultation.

Roger Milne

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