The Neighbourhood Planning Bill endured its Second Reading in Parliament yesterday and has now progressed onto Committee Stage.
With this Bill the Government hopes to make current planning procedures more community friendly, less time consuming, and less opaque. Ultimately, it is hoped that the Bill will lead to more housing and developments being approved in future.
The Bill seeks to amend the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and The Localism Act 2011 and has two key aims. The first is to help free up and identify more land to build homes on to give communities as much certainty as possible about when and where developments will take place. The second is to speed up the delivery of new homes, especially with regards to reducing the time it takes from planning permission being granted, to building work commencing, and new homes being actually being delivered for people who need them.
Although, generally, the aims of the Bill are widely supported, there is some concern that, in practice, it may not have the desired effects envisaged by Ministers. The newly appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Teresa Pearce, believes that despite expediting the process of planning permission being granted to the completion of the project, it will do very little to alleviate the current wider housing crisis. Moreover, she expressed concerns that plans to place the National Infrastructure Commission on statutory footing have been dropped from the legislation, as the NIC would have gone some way to tackling this issue.
Despite these objections, the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, believes that the provisions in the Bill will speed up the currently lengthy and complex process, paving the way for more land to be freed up and houses to be built faster, not least through the streamlining and increased transparency of Compulsory Purchase Orders. He is not alone in this – Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation has called this measure “particularly important” and “crucial” to attracting investment and helping projects progress quickly and efficiently.
Greater community involvement and transparency in the early stages of plan-making can have a significant effect on the final decision and outcome and we hope that the Bill can be crafted in such a way so as to achieve the desired outcomes. As such, Nudge Factory will be following the legislation closely as it progresses through Parliament.
If you are interested in a more detailed briefing of what the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, contact:
T: +44 (0)20 8819 0555
D: +44 (0)20 3637 5963