Autumn Statement round-up
Last week’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne revealed the Government’s appetite for further planning reforms and initiatives.
The Chancellor’s pronouncements included a £1bn commitment over the next six years to unlock new large housing sites and moves to make it easier for local authorities to borrow to fund new housing development.
There were measures to help the High Street financially as well as development control proposals which would allow change of use from retail to restaurant or leisure uses, and remove restrictions on mezzanine floors in retail premises, where this supports town centres.
There was also a proposal that a council would be designated as under-performing if fewer than 40 per cent of decisions are made on time. Currently the trigger point is 30 per cent.
The Chancellor also signalled plans to change the New Homes Bonus by withdrawing payments where local authorities objected to development and schemes are approved on appeal.
The Department for Communities and Local Government will shortly be consulting on a new 10-house threshold for section 106 affordable housing arrangements. Also to come is a review of the role of local authorities in housing supply.
Promised is consultation on measures to improve plan making, including “introducing a statutory requirement to put a local plan in place” and new legislation which will mean that where a local authority has failed to discharge a planning condition on time, it will be treated as approved.
Also in the pipeline are moves to reduce “unnecessary” statutory consultations. In addition ministers want to develop a pilot scheme which would mean a “share of the benefits of development would be passed directly to individual households".
The Coalition confirmed last week that a specialist planning court will be established. And it fired the starting gun on its review of the infrastructure planning regime established by the Planning Act 2008.
12 December 2013
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