The Neighbourhood Planning Bill

Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government)

Alongside a pledge to deliver one million new homes and to double the housing budget to £20 billion, the government recently published the first draft of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill. It will have its second reading on 10th October 2016.

The Bill intends to speed up and strengthen the neighbourhood planning process by ensuring that plans come into full force as soon as they have been passed by referendum, and by requiring planning authorities to take account of well-advanced plans that are not yet complete.

It will also simplify how neighbourhood plans can be modified in response to changing circumstances or boundary revisions without the need to start again from scratch.

A simplification of the compulsory purchase process is also planned, including provisions to deal with negotiating the market value of land and powers to obtain temporary access of land. There will be a requirement for compulsory purchase orders to be brought into operation within a specified period of time.

The Bill seeks to restrict the use of planning conditions that inhibit development, and it is proposed that pre-commencement conditions will in future require the approval of the applicant. A separate consultation has been launched with details of conditions it is considered should no longer be used.

Further measures will enhance support for local plans from local planning authorities, requiring them to publish their Statements of Community Involvement and to review and update them at regular intervals.

The Bill will require the implementation of detailed regulations and the government has started a public consultation to obtain views on this, running from 7 September 2016 to 19 October 2016.

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