The UK Government today released the Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17. The measures in the Bill are designed to support more housebuilding and provide more local say over developments.
Stephen Wilkinson, RTPI Vice President said:
“We welcome the Neighbourhood Planning Bill including measures to simplify and speed up neighbourhood planning, the substantive package on compulsory purchase orders, simplified but effective pre-commencement conditions, and requirement to capture data on permitted development approvals. We will continue to work with the government to ensure this Bill contributes to a simpler planning system that creates the certainty we need to develop well planned places.”
The RTPI has long supported neighbourhood planning and steps to make it simpler for communities are welcomed.
Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO)
While the Institute is pleased to see that the Bill is broadly in line with the recommendations we made in our response to the reform of the compulsory purchase system consultation, the government should be working towards a reform of CPO legislation that goes further and allows local authorities to play a more proactive role in land assembly. This would necessitate land being acquired at close to existing use value, with an additional premium provided to compensate land owners. Releasing the consultation alongside the Bill is an effective way of streamlining the process.
The key issue in development management is to deliver excellent outcomes through an efficient process, which needs to work for all applicants and for current and future residents of communities. We support the Government in seeking to address the issue of conditions but care should be taken to ensure there are no unintended consequences of change. We welcome the releasing of the consultation alongside the Bill to streamline the process.
Reporting numbers of permitted development applications
The Institute supports the requirement for local authorities to report on the number of approved permitted development applications annually. We hope that better data in this area will lead to better decisions being made about permitted development rights.
National Infrastructure Commission
When the Bill was announced during the Queen’s Speech in May 2016 the government indicated that it would include provisions about the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). This draft bill does not contain details about the NIC. The RTPI will closely watch the development of the NIC. Infrastructure is critical to unlocking housing and creating the places this this country needs.
Land registration privatisation
We welcome the pause in the consideration of privatising the Land Registry. RTPI advocates that the Land Registry should be kept under public control to underpin discussion on land ownership and national housing policy, and not simply to assist individual property transactions.
Where does it apply?
According to the government the substantive provisions of the Bill apply in England and Wales.
A more detailed response will be released shortly.
The 2nd reading of the Bill will take place in the House of Commons on Monday 10 October 2016.