Housing and Planning Act 2016—changes to development plans in force on 1 October

Housing and Planning Act 2016—changes to development plans in force on 1 October

Provisions in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA 2016) in relation to the Secretary of State’s intervention in local and neighbourhood plan-making, in force from 1 October 2016, aim to get plans in place more quickly, thereby speeding up the planning application process and providing further certainty for developers.

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What are the practical implications of the measures?

Local planning

The measures will reform the Secretary of State’s powers to intervene in local plan-making, with the aim of ensuring that every local planning authority (LPA) has a local plan in place. This is of particular importance for boosting housing supply, because local plans are key to housing delivery, as the primary basis for identifying what development is needed in an area, deciding where it should go and providing the starting point for dealing with planning applications.

A key benefit of the measures is to allow for a 'more targeted approach to intervention in plan-making' by the Secretary of State—to both encourage progress with plan-making and enable more effective intervention where necessary. This should provide more certainty for businesses and communities. For planning applicants, a local plan with robust, evidence-based policies that are then applied through the decision-making process provides clarity about what is and is not an acceptable development. This should enable applicants to bring forward acceptable schemes with minimal delays, enabling development to be brought forward more quickly.

Neighbourhood planning

The intervention measures in relation to neighbourhood planning aim to tackle the problem that the neighbourhood planning process takes, on average, two years to complete (ie from when a group applies to start the process by submitting an

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About the author:

Jen is a solicitor specialising in planning law. She has experience in relation to a range of planning topics, including environmental impact assessment, section 106 agreements, highways orders, compulsory purchase, freedom of information issues, inquiries, judicial review, the Localism Act 2011, the National Planning Policy Framework and major infrastructure projects. After qualifying at Ashurst, Jen worked at Bevan Brittan and subsequently at CMS Cameron McKenna as an associate in the planning team. She worked as an external author for LexisPSL before joining the team in November 2010. She has written for a variety of legal publications, including the New Law Journal, Utilities Week, Planning Resource and The Lawyer. Jen regularly appears on Talking Law videocasts providing legal updates on planning law.