Government Consultation on Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Head of Regeneration outlined the proposals contained in the Government consultation paper on ”Planning Reform: Supporting the High Street and Increasing the Delivery of New Homes” to extend the range of developments that can take place without the need for planning permission and to extend local authorities’ freedoms to dispose of surplus land. The document was divided into four parts:
· Permitted development rights and use classes;
· Disposal of local authority land;
· Canal and River Trust: Draft listed consent order; and
· New Town Development Corporations: Draft compulsory purchase guidance.
The Head of Regeneration explained the proposals in respect of changes of use and the limits of permitted development and the advantages and disadvantages in each case. It was proposed to extend permitted development to cover new types of development or where permitted development had been granted on a temporary basis to make these rights permanent. This reflected the Government’s desire to increase the housing supply and to provide greater flexibility in areas such as change of use in the High Streets. Permitted development rights were already quite wide but the proposals would make the permitted development rights of landowners and developers even wider, including the building of additional stories on existing buildings and change of use from retail to residential. It was also proposed to encourage developers to install electric charging points in developments. The Government was also proposing to extend local authorities’ freedoms to dispose of surplus land at less than best consideration without the need to obtain consent from the Secretary of State thereby providing greater flexibility to dispose of surplus land in support of local development objectives and it was felt that this should be supported.
Suggested responses to the consultation exercise, which would end on 14 January 2019, were contained in Appendix B to the report. Many of the changes such as the greater flexibility to dispose of surplus land were welcomed but there were concerns about more development taking place without the need to go through the planning process and the potential for development to change the existing mix of uses and character of areas, and in particular town centres. The Council could not support changes which could threaten the vibrancy of town centres. There was also some concern that the changes could result in a two tiered regime for planning consent and that the Council would still be responsible for residual burdens.
The Cabinet noted the provisions around the disposal of surplus land at less than best value but felt that there were already powers available to do this and that, in fact, the existing processes provided more protection for local authorities when disposing of surplus land for a fair price.
The Cabinet had regard to the views raised at the Cabinet Advisory Panel.
That the responses to the questions, set out in Appendix B to the report, form the Council’s response to the Government’s Consultation on Planning Reform.
Publication date: 07/01/2019
Date of decision: 06/12/2018
Decided at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet
Effective from: 07/12/2018