National Infrastructure Plan hides New Major Round of Planning Reforms

The NIP hides away on page 15

The government will continue to work to ensure that the planning system does not act as a barrier to vital infrastructure investment. It will:
• continue to refine the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime as lessons are learned from projects going through it, including:
• launching an overarching review of the NSIP regime, while freezing planning application fees for the NSIP regime for the remainder of this parliament
• having regard to the designation of a ‘Top 40’ priority investment when considering applications for the NSIP regime
• providing policy certainty and confidence for the transport sector through the publication of a National Networks National Policy Statement (NPS)
• reform the judicial review (JR) system to tackle delays to infrastructure delivery and reduce the impact of meritless claims; it will establish a specialist planning court with set deadlines to accelerate the handling of cases, introduce legislation to ensure that minor procedural claims are dealt with proportionally and allow appeals to ‘leapfrog’ directly to the Supreme Court in a wider range of circumstances
• take further steps to address delays at every stage of the planning process and incentivise improved planning performance, by:
consulting on mechanisms to speed up Local Plan production, including a statutory requirement to put local plans in place
• addressing delays associated with the discharge of planning conditions
• consulting on proposals to reduce the number of applications where unnecessary statutory consultations occur
• ensuring that households benefit from developments in their local area; building on the measures it has already put in place (including the neighbourhood funding element of the Community Infrastructure Levy), the government will work with industry, local authorities and other interested parties to develop a pilot passing a share of the benefits of development directly to individual households

Further details are given on page 100

Town and Country Planning System
7.41 The Government is taking steps to address delays at every stage of the planning process and incentivise improved planning performance.
7.42 Local Plans provide certainty for developers, while supporting locally-led sustainable development. Three quarters of planning authorities now have a published Local Plan, but further progress can be made. The government will consult on measures to improve plan making, including introducing a statutory requirement to put a Local Plan in place.
7.43 Delays associated with the discharge of planning conditions can hinder the effective delivery of development. The government will legislate so that where a planning authority has failed to discharge a condition on time, it will be treated as approved, and will consult on using legislative measures to strengthen the requirement for planning authorities to justify conditions that must be discharged before any work can start.
7.44 To prevent delays for applicants, the government will consult on proposals to reduce the number of applications where unnecessary statutory consultations occur, and key statutory consultees will commit to a common service agreement. The government will also pilot a new scheme to provide a single point of contact for cases where a point of conflict in advice cannot be resolved locally.
7.45 The government wants to ensure that households benefit from developments in their local area. Building on the measures it has already put in place at the local authority and community level (including the neighbourhood funding element of the Community Infrastructure Levy, ‘Community Benefits’ in the energy sector and the New Homes Bonus), the government will work with industry, local authorities and other interested parties to develop a pilot passing a share of the benefits of development directly to individual households.

This will be the third round of reforms, The NPPF round one, the use class order changes round two.  The HBF have been lobbying for the deemed conditions reform.   All conditions must have reasons and every DM planner knows the common law tests used to determine whether grampian/negative conditions are appropriate (or they should) so it is difficult to see what use this would be.

The statory duty to have a plan is interesting, Scotland has it and noone should fear it but it makes no difference as it isn’t enforced.  It would only bite if others could claim funds and an EIP place to submit their own plan if an LPA was very late.  The Government quoting stats on published plans is meaningless when most published plans now fail the DTC or are found unsound at first bite.  

Any monies passed to individual households would need to come off either profits or CIL/Infrastructure funding.  It is a daft idea designed to enrich already well off people living on the edge of towns and villages at the cost of society as a whole and will do little to dissipate opposition.  There is no system of compensation/betterment for changes to land values, their is no right to a nice view, and if there is to be any such system it should solely come from a levy on betterment.

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