Interesting a lot in here which could have been in secondary legislation to bulk out the bill.
A new section 62A of the Planning Act is proposed to allow certain categories of applications in designated authorities to be made directly to the SoS. Section 1(6) allows the SoS to direct certain matters to the LPA as if the application had been made to them, this includes I imagine consultation. Interestingly UDAs as exempt from designation as being under ‘special measures’ of course under the national stats they are amongst the slowest of LPAs.
Section 4 is of great interest on information requirements. It adds a new rider that information requirements made under section 62(3) of the act
a) must be reasonable having regard, in particular, to the nature
and scale of the proposed development; and
(b) may require particulars of, or evidence about, a matter only if it
is reasonable to think that the matter will be a material
consideration in the determination of the application.”
This is very reasonable.
Section 5 introduces a new type of application to vary affordable housing requirements. their would be a legal requirement to determine such applications so that if the scheme were unviable it becomes viable. So the issue then is what is the legal definition of viable? This will soon be tested in the courts im sure, the definition in the NPPF is vague and we have two different guidance notes now out with two different definitions. Is a scheme unviable simply because a developer paid too much for land and wont sell it on at a market clearing rate?
A rather striking clause 7(2) completely removes the ‘Dower test’ for national parks and AONB when dealing with applications under section 109 of the Communications Act 2003. This power would cease to have effect in 2018! Another monster extensions like proposal, this time monster masts in National Parks and AONB. There will be a hell of a row about that.
Their is a lengthy section implementing the previously consulted on changes to village green legislation. Long overdue.
Section 19 would remove the stupid special parliamentary produce requirement under the 2008 act. Procedures of course introduced by the Tory Led Government,
Section 21 is likley to be highly contentious. It would bring business and commercial development within the 2008 act regime. The SoS would have the power to direct such projects fall under the regime if they are deemed to be of national importance. Dwellings are specifically excluded.
Such applications would be treated like any other 2008 act application, so that begs the question, will there now be a NPS for nationally significant business and commercial development?
A clause on Osborne’s pet project on employees signing away their rights for shares (the if the firm goes bust you get zilch notwithstanding European law clause) seems woefully out of place.