Further proposals to cut planning red tape and offer more support for local communities to devise neighbourhood plans

The Government has published proposals to make the planning system more streamlined and effective. A-100 page document, now out for consultation, highlights plans to change the neighbourhood planning regime, amend planning regulations and planning conditions, as well as modifying the planning application process and introducing new thresholds for environmental impact assessments. Also unveiled were promised measures to refine the arrangements for determining nationally significant infrastructure projects.

The 'wide ranging proposals' are the next stage, making it easier for communities to devise neighbourhood plans, help builders get onto sites with planning permission without delay and reduce bureaucracy and red tape.

Access the information here

The consultation provides more detail around the ‘deemed discharge’ of planning conditions included in the Infrastructure Bill currently being considered by the Lords. This provides clarity on the type of conditions which are expected to be exempted from the deemed discharge provisions.

These are:

development which is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment
development which is likely to have a significant effect on a qualifying European site
development in areas of high flood risk (e.g. where development is in flood zones 2 & 3 or where there are reported critical drainage issues
conditions that have the effect of requiring that an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 to be entered into before an aspect of the development can go ahead
any conditions requiring the approval of details for outline planning permissions required by reserved matters.
Other measures now out for discussion include:

requiring planning authorities to provide written justification why pre-commencement conditions could not be dealt with after development has commenced
Imposing a time limit of 70 days on local authorities dealing with applications for neighbourhood area status (the current average is 126 days with some taking as long as 400 days)
streamlining the process of seeking views on applications from statutory consultees. This is expected to reduce the number of applications requiring input from English Heritage, Natural England and the Highways Agency but will not affect the role of the Environment Agency
raising the screening threshold for Environmental Impact Assessments for development of residential property in urban areas to exclude schemes of below 150 units. This is expected to reduce the number of such screenings for residential developments from 1600 a year to around 300
establishing new permitted development rights to allow homes to be created in buildings currently used for light industry, warehousing, launderettes, casinos, nightclubs and amusement arcades. Payday loan shops and betting shops would be excluded from this new regime.

Related stories