Autumn Policy and Legislation Changes?
With the results from June’s snap general election seemingly causing a hiatus in the planning policy pipeline, the sector has been patiently awaiting news on the many initiatives presented in the Housing White Paper.
With the consultation on the proposed standardised methodology for calculating OAN now open, we explore some of the other policy and legislation changes that are expected this autumn.
Application and appeal fees
With the Housing White Paper reconfirming the government’s intentions to push ahead and allow councils to increase planning application fees by at least 20%, we are still awaiting news on any associated legislative changes. With the majority of Local Planning Authorities welcoming the potential increase, changes in legislation were expected back in July. To date DCLG are yet to fulfil this promise to Local Authorities and furthermore, there is little evidence to suggest that the proposal will be put to parliament anytime soon.
Philip Hanmond’s Autumn Statement is all set to provide the clearest indication of the future shape of CIL. With the independent review panel report, that was published alongside the Housing White Paper, suggesting a somewhat curtailed “local infrastructure tariff” for all developments, the statement will be eagerly awaited by all in the development sector. The Autumn Budget is also due to reveal the government’s intentions on implementing powers in section 158 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 for “appointed persons” to resolve issues holding up completion of planning obligations. Furthermore, news is awaited on the Conservatives’ election manifesto promise to work with housebuilders to ensure that the sector captures increased land values from building for reinvestment in “local infrastructure, essential services and further housing”.
With Ministerial powers under the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, enabling the prescription of conditions, coming into force in principle under a commencement order in July, DCLG are yet to provide a timescale for further secondary legislation specifying which types of condition will be considered acceptable.
DCLG have indicated that work on the revised NPPF will begin “towards the back end of the year”, Chief DCLG Planner Steve Quartermain has indicated the revisions may provide more clarity on the way in which the Government intends to achieve their manifesto goal of “high-quality, high density” housing, including on the role of commuter hubs, policy support for upward extension of existing buildings and the scope for raising densities in areas struggling to meet their housing obligations. Many within the sector are also anticipating that the revised NPPF will confirm the “reasonable options”, set out within the white paper, which councils will need to demonstrate they have considered, before considering green belt releases.
With the new planning and housing minister, Alok Sharma being preoccupied with the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, only time will tell whether or not the policy and legislation changes promised, will materialise in the near future.