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Archive for August, 2016

Planning for potential fireworks in England

Royal assent to the much anticipated Housing and Planning Bill was given on 12 May 2016.  The Act, parts only of which are presently in force, applies in England.  Other parts of the United Kingdom have their own planning legislation and regulations.

The introductory text to this Act states it is “An Act to make provision about housing, estate agents, rentcharges, planning and compulsory purchase.”  There is much hidden behind these words in the nine Parts of the Act.  For instance, Part 1 deals with new homes in England regulating both starter homes and self-build and custom housebuilding.  Part 2 introduces the concept of rogue landlords and property agents leading to potential banning orders preventing those convicted from letting housing in England or engaging in letting agency or property management work.  Their names will appear on a database administered by local housing authorities.

Part 4 of the Act deals with various aspects of social housing including a duty upon English housing authorities to sell higher value housing which has become vacant, the introduction of regulations imposing rental levels which equate to tenant income levels and the phasing out of tenancies for life.

It is perhaps Part 6 of the Act dealing with neighbourhood planning, which will have the greatest impact on the English planning system.  Introduced pursuant to previous legislation, the government is now to have the power to impose a long-stop date for its improvisation by local planning authorieis (’lpa’) with intervention powers where the relevant lpa fails to act.  Additionally, development orders may grant planning in principle (already named ‘pips’) for housing-led development of land in England and the government may introduce regulations imposing restrictions and conditions on the enforceability of planning obligations with regard to affordable housing.  Finally, Part 6 enables the government to provide for temporary arrangements to “test the practicality and desirability of competition (but not determining) of applications to do with planning.”

Watch out for the fireworks which are sure to be released as this Act is brought into force.