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How do the announcements in the Queen's speech propose to 'bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness'?
Queen's Speech 2014: Infrastructure Bill, LNB News 04/06/2014 105 The government has announced plans to introduce legislation to increase investment in infrastructure through long-term, stable funding and deliver more transparency and efficiency to the planning process. Provisions in the Infrastructure Bill will also transfer statutory responsibility for local land charges to charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry, and extend its powers to allow to information and register services relating to land and other property.
The Bill aims to:
Key benefits hoped to be delivered by the Bill include:
Planning proposals in the Bill include:
allowing certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period
The planning proposals in the speech have generally been welcomed by the industry. In particular, the streamlining of the NSIP process should simplify and speed-up the procedure for obtaining a DCO, save money for developers and the tax payer and help to get much-needed infrastructure projects up and running more quickly. The proposal to allow deemed discharge of planning conditions should also reduce unnecessary delay in the development procedure and save costs. However, there are some concerns in relation to the intended further flexibilities for the use of buildings. While economic growth and increased housing are unarguably priority objectives, these extended flexibilities could lead to unintended consequences, such as housing being built in inappropriate areas. Streamlining is a common theme of planning reform, and it is always going to be a difficult balance between speed and growth versus the interlinked social and environmental impacts.
This article was written by Jen Hawkins, planning solicitor in the Lexis®PSL Property and Environment teams and was first published in LexisPSL Property on 5 June 2014. Click here for a free one week trial of Lexis®PSL Property.
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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.
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