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Archive for January, 2013

Planning For Housing

The Coalition Government has stated on numerous occasions that the planning system is burdened with unnecessary bureaucracy that can hinder sustainable growth.  It has therefore brought about major changes through the Localism Act 2011 and the National Planning Policy Framework making, for instance, reforms to ensure that housing decisions are taken locally.  Now it has introduced the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.  Many of its proposals will be welcomed by, in particular, developers of residential property.  For instance, in its Parliamentary Briefing Paper dated 14 January 2012, the Government states the Bill will, if passed, allow renegotiation of s106  Agreements relating to affordable housing to make a development economically viable and enable the Planning Inspectorate to determine applications if the local planning authority has a consistently poor performance record.

However, there will be much disappointment about the Government’s u-turn on extending the general development order to make it easier to change some commercial uses to residential without the need of a planning determination.  The proposal had been contained within a consultation document issued in 2012 and would have granted permitted development rights for change of use between the use classes B1 (business), B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage and distribution) to C3 (dwelling houses).  The Government has stated that it will, instead, rely on the new National Planning Policy Framework which will promote housing on a local need basis.  It is proposed, however, that permitted development rights be extended to allow businesses and homeowners to extend their properties under the General Permitted Development Order.  Those opposed to subterranean development may now be the ones leading the opposition!

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