Planning Reform in 2018 and imminent Planning Fees increase

At the end of December 2017, Steve Quartermain (Chief Planner at DCLG) sent a letter to all Local Planning Authorities outlining key planning reforms due to take place during 2018, many of which were mooted in the Autumn Budget. These can be summarised as follows:

Revised NPPF

Revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – the Government will consult on a new draft NPPF early in 2018, with the revised NPPF then due to be published before the end of Summer.

New Planning Regulations

A series of regulations under the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 were laid before Parliament in mid-December 2017 and should be brought into force in 2018; these include the following:

  • Requirement for review of Local Development Documents every 5 years, starting from the date of adoption (coming into force on 6 April 2018) – this is effectively an assessment of the plan for its effectiveness/relevance, to see if existing policies require updating. If policies do need updating, a timetable needs to be put in place (through an update to the Local Development Scheme). If policies do not need updating, the authority must publish reasons for this decision; there is no mention as to whether there is a third party right to challenge such decisions.
  • Requirement to update content of Statements of Community Involvement every five years, starting on the date of adoption (coming into force on 27th April 2018 – to be confirmed). SCI’s now must set out policies for giving advice or assistance to neighbourhood planning groups, and policies for involving communities and other interested parties in the preliminary stages of plan-making.
  • Updates to neighbourhood planning process (coming into force on 31st January 2018) – to provide flexibility in terms of modifying Neighbourhood Plans already in force; to facilitate the modification of a Neighbourhood Area, including how this effects existing Neighbourhood Plans for that area

Housing Delivery Test (HDT) and Brownfield Register

The DCLG is to publish an illustrative HDT measurement in 2018 and has asked all LPAs to check and update their local plan housing requirement figures during January 2018. In addition, all LPA’s should have provided their brownfield land registers to the DCLG by the end of 2017.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

A series of reforms to CIL are to be introduced in 2018, including lifting the restriction on pooling S.106 planning obligations in certain circumstances, and reforms to speed up the introduction of/revisions to CIL. CIL will be made more “market responsive” by indexing rates to changes in house prices.

Planning Fee Increase

Local planning authorities will be able to start applying a new 20% fee increase from 17th January 2018. The Regulations introduce a new fee of £402/0.1ha for Permission in Principle applications, and a new £96 fee for ne PD rights introduced in April 2015 and April 2017.

Also, and significantly, the Regulations now allow LPAs to charge for applications for planning permission following the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 directions or by condition

New PD rights – Class B1(c) to Class C3

This right, introduced on 1st October 2017, allows for the change of use of buildings up to 500sq m, subject to prior approval by the local planning authority.  Applications for prior approval must be made on or before 30 September 2020, and the change of use must be completed within three years of the date of prior approval.

If you have any queries with regard to any of the above, please contact Andy Shepley.

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