President of the RTPI, said: "We welcome proposals in the bill to
make it easier and quicker to deliver important national
infrastructure which is crucial to sustainable development and
economic growth. But it is vital that any new process to fast track
large commercial and retail development is adequately
Pictured right: Colin Haylock.
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill can be downloaded here.
DCLG's news release can be read here.
DCLG background notes to the Bill are here.
Specific announcements in the Growth and Infrastructure
Local Planning Authorities' (LPA) performance
The Government will consult on the criteria that will be used
for judging LPA performance, and it is difficult to anticipate its
impact until this has been agreed but the RTPI hopes that the
provision will be used rarely.
There are several factors that affect planning department's
performance. The RTPI has recently said:
"Planning for sustainable development relies on adequately
resourced planning departments, a vision for the area expressed in
well written policies, engaged and knowledgeable councillors, good
applications, and timely responses on planning applications from
Deficiencies in any one of these may result in a drop in
performance - whether measured by time taken or quality of
decisions. The RTPI is keen to see that if any council is judged to
be underperforming, yet to be defined by government, that targeted
and appropriate support enables a return decision-making to local
democratic control as quickly as possible."
Special Parliamentary Procedure (SPP)
Special Parliamentary Procedure has proved to be bureaucratic,
and the RTPI welcomes the reforms. The first application to go
through the 2008 procedure has now been embroiled in the procedure
for almost as long as the original application.
Awarding of costs
The RTPI is certain that any such measures will be used
judiciously and reasonably.
Renegotiation of Section 106
The RTPI remains concerned that legislation around renegotiation
of section 106 agreements between local authorities and developers
will result in delay. Councils across the country are currently
renegotiating with developers on the level of section 106
agreements where sites are stalled. Further legislation runs the
risk of developers delaying development in the hope of
renegotiating their contractually contributions downwards.
Our paper on Section 106 agreements can be downloaded here.
Penfold review measures
The Penfold Review made a number of recommendations to bring
non-planning regimes in line with the planning system. The RTPI has
long argued for the implementation of the Penfold Review's
recommendation and we welcome the inclusion in the Bill of the four
- Town or village green registration. The measures to be included
in the Bill will prevent the possible registration of a town or
village green from interfering with developments either approved or
envisaged under the planning system. It will not affect already
registered town or village greens, all of which will continue to be
- The clauses for rights of way orders remove the current
restriction on requests for the orders to be made only after
planning permission is granted.
- The measures for stopping up orders (closing roads) are similar
to the approach being taken with rights of way. These changes will
allow for stopping up of roads and planning applications to run
- The final measure deals with repealing the redundant section 14
of the Energy Act 1976. The section implemented two Council
Directives that have since been repealed and therefore no
consultation was needed.
Measures not in the Bill
The Bill does not contain measures relating to Permitted
Development (house extensions and change of use from commercial to
Review of extant planning guidance
The RTPI has been pressing for planning guidance to be reviewed.
Lord Matthew Taylor will lead a panel reviewing extant planning guidance
following the publication of the National Planning Policy Forum.
Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive of the RTPI, is on the panel in a
Progress of a Bill
Progress of a Bill introduced in the House of Commons
The first reading of the Bill took place today
(18 October). The second reading, where there is for the first
time an opportunity to debate the main principles of the Bill,
normally takes place within two weeks.