Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
This Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons on 11 May 2022.
The government has stated that changes to planning and regeneration will not be delivered by the Bill alone. Changes to regulations, national policy, and guidance will also be needed.
Alongside the Bill, the government has published policy paper Levelling Up and Regeneration: further information The policy paper outlines the government’s planning reforms more fully, including the actions which the government will be taking alongside the Bill.
In relation to planning, the government wants to improve the planning process, so that it gives local communities control over what is built, where it is built, and what it looks like.
It is anticipated that these changes will begin to take place from 2024, once the Bill has received Royal Assent and associated regulations and changes to national policy are in place.
A few points to note
Part 3 of the Bill introduces wide ranging planning reforms including:
- Introducing development commencement notices and enforcement warning notices.
- Removing the ability to claim compensation when a building preservation notice is served.
- A new route to vary any existing planning permission.
- Increasing the four-year immunity period for planning enforcement in England to ten years. This seems to have so far gone unnoticed but could have a significant impact on the property market.
- Introducing a “street votes” system which would allow for the intensification of predominantly housing development on residential streets where support was signalled through a street vote.
- Replacing the “duty to co-operate”.
The Bill is intended to implement the government’s Levelling Up agenda by regenerating local areas and improving the planning system to ensure that new developments have adequate infrastructure and include affordable housing.
Part 5 of the Bill would introduce significant reforms to replace the UK environmental impact assessment (EIAs) and strategic environmental assessment (SEAs) processes for assessing the potential environmental effects of plans and developments with an “environmental outcomes reports” (EOR) process.
Part 8 will also give local authorities an important new power to instigate high street rental auctions of selected vacant commercial properties in town centres and on high streets which have been vacant for more than one year.
There will be a two-month notice period during which landlords can evidence a signed lease, and if none is presented, an authority will be able to serve a final rental auction notice, triggering a two-month auction period for bidders to come forward.
The intention is to support high street and town centre regeneration. However, there is real concern within the commercial property sector as to how this would be implemented and the impact on property freehold and rental values.
Part 10, among other changes, will make permanent existing temporary measures on pavement licensing. These measures streamline and make cheaper the process of applying for a license to put furniture on the highway and is intended to support high street and town centre regeneration.
It will be interesting to see the progress of the Bill and the finer detail, as the proposals will have a major impact on both the residential and commercial property sector.