Page 1

planning + development associates

Briefing: Localism Act 2011 The Localism Act gained Royal Assent on 15 November 2011, heralding the formal introduction of the Coalition’s planning reform agenda. After some 70 hours of scrutiny in the House of Commons and 105 hours scrutiny in the House of Lords, the Localism Bill has finally received Royal Assent. The Localism Act represents a major step in the Coalition Government’s ongoing reform of the planning system and will be further consolidated when the National Planning Policy Framework is adopted, which is anticipated in April 2012.

4.

Pre-Application Consultation: the Act contains provisions that will make pre-application consultation mandatory on major development schemes. Whilst not defined in the Act, a government consultation paper envisages that the threshold above which this preapplication consultation will be legally required is 200 or more residential units or developments above 10,000 sq.m. These powers will place an obligation on those seeking planning permission to conduct preplanning consultation whereby local communities can have a direct input into the design of development proposals before they are formally applied for and most importantly to demonstrate how the feedback from the consultation has been taken into account.

5.

Enforcement: this section of the Act seeks to improve confidence in the planning process itself. The power of planning authorities to redress manipulation and misrepresentation within the planning system has been strengthened, including such measures as time limits and penalties for planning offences, time limits for enforcing concealed breaches of planning control and assurances of prosecution for those served with enforcement notices. These powers reflect the importance of ensuring that communities have confidence that their input into the planning process is respected and adhered to.

Summary of Main Provisions The Act comprises 240 clauses and 10 parts in total. It broadly covers the powers of local authorities; governance; community empowerment; planning; housing (including the abolition of home information packs) and London. For planning practitioners the key areas of interest are: 1.

Abolition of Regional Strategies: the Act contains provisions which will result in the abolition of regional strategies. However, their abolition will require secondary legislation and until such time as this is introduced they will remain part of the development plan. Local planning authorities will no longer have regional policies and targets (particularly for housing) to take into account in the formulation of their development plans.

2.

Community Infrastructure Levy: the Act introduces provisions which would allow CIL funds to be passed to persons other than a local authority and to be spent on a wider range of costs. Their extended use could, in due course, apply to provision of affordable housing.

3.

Neighbourhood Plans: introduction of plan making powers for neighbourhoods and the ability to grant permission for specified forms of development under neighbourhood development orders. These provisions will give neighbourhoods a direct say in both the location and scale of development in their area. The neighbourhood plan will need to be in conformity with the local plan but most importantly will form part of the development plan for the purposes of assessing development proposals. Neighbourhoods can now include both locally elected representatives and representatives from the business sector. Local planning authorities will be obligated to provide technical advice and support for these plans.

“This Bill will provide the enduring legislative foundation for a new, decentralised Britain, where power is returned to the people to which it belongs.” Greg Clark MP, Decentralisation Minister

“…a ground-breaking shift in power to councils and communities overturning decades of central government control and starting a new era of people power.” Eric Pickles MP, Communities Secretary

Planning & Development Associates Ltd 123 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EA | T: 0207 1010 789 | E: info@plandev.co.uk | www.plandev.co.uk This briefing contains general information only and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide professional advice to cover specific situations. It is not a substitute for such advice and should not be relied upon or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. We accept no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this briefing. © Planning & Development Associates Ltd 2011. All rights reserved.


planning + development associates

Briefing: Localism Act 2011

6.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs): the Localism Act aims to improve the accountability of national infrastructure planning. Previously, this has been overseen by the unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission. With the implementation of the Act, responsibility for deciding applications for NSIPs will be directly by Government ministers. National policy statements for NSIPs, will also be subject to approval by Parliament.

7.

Financial incentives a material consideration: the Act extends the scope of section 70(2) of the 1990 Planning Act to include ‘any local financial considerations’ as one of the factors to be considered in the assessment of development proposals.

8.

Community assets: Under this part of the Act, the local authority is obligated to maintain a list of land or property that is considered of community value within its jurisdiction. This list is to be known as a ‘list of assets of community value.’ Communities may nominate land to be considered as assets of community value. The owner of any land that is deemed a ‘community asset’ may ask the relevant authority to review its decision to include the land on the list. However, the owner of a community asset will be subject to a moratorium on the disposal of the land unless certain conditions are met, namely a written request to the local authority for disposal is submitted or the protection and/or moratorium period has expired.

9.

London: the Act makes provisions for the transfer of powers, in particular to the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor of London. Under the Act, the GLA will be able to compulsorily acquire land within Greater London for housing or regeneration purposes. Equally, there will be restrictions on the disposal of this land. The Act also formalises the abolition of the London Development Authority, with its property and responsibilities being shared across a variety of bodies, including the Greater London Authority, Secretary of State and borough councils.

10. Compensation for Compulsory Purchase: the Act requires that compensation will take into account whether land has planning permission which may affect the market valuation of the land subject to a compulsory purchase order. What happens next? The majority of the Act will be subject to secondary regulations which will introduced by the Secretary of State in due course. Certain provisions, namely the creation of assets of community value, the duty to co-operate in relation to planning of sustainable development, the implementation of neighbourhood planning and the obligation to conduct consultation before applying for planning permission, come into force straight away. Provisions relating to local development schemes, the adoption and withdrawal of development plan documents, local development monitoring reports, and the abolition of HIPs, will come into force in two months’ time from enactment.

If you would like to find out more, or to discuss the implications of the new legislation for your organisation, please contact Alan Gunne-Jones on 0207 1010 789.

"For the best part of a century, most bills that have passed through this House have taken power from communities and councils and given more power to central Government or in some cases to European government. This is an historic bill, not just for the measures it contains but for what it represents." Greg Clark MP, Decentralisation Minister

Planning & Development Associates Ltd 123 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EA | T: 0207 1010 789 | E: info@plandev.co.uk | www.plandev.co.uk This briefing contains general information only and is not intended to be comprehensive nor to provide professional advice to cover specific situations. It is not a substitute for such advice and should not be relied upon or used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect you or your business. We accept no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this briefing. © Planning & Development Associates Ltd 2011. All rights reserved.

Briefing - Localism Act 2011  

The Localism Act heralds the formal introduction of the Coalition Government's planning reform agenda

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you