Queen’s Speech 2016 - planning ahead for the property sector

Queen’s Speech 2016 - planning ahead for the property sector

Following the Queen’s Speech, Samantha Blackburn, head of residential property law at Slater and Gordon (UK) LLP, says it’s not surprising, in light of the impending EU referendum and the uncertainties over what a Brexit may entail, that the government did not spring any surprises on property practitioners.

What were the key announcements in the Queen’s speech affecting property practitioners?

The main points to note are:

  • the government’s intention to privatise the Land Registry—despite fierce opposition proposals will be published in response to the recommendations of the Law Commission’s report (2011) on easements, covenants and profits-à-prendre, with a view to introducing a draft Law of Property Bill
  • commitment to introducing a new Electronic Communications Code to simplify rules for building broadband infrastructure, which will be brought into effect under the Digital Economy Bill
  • introduction of measures under the Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill (NIB) to reform and speed up the planning process
What legislation has been announced regarding the Land Registry? Will this legislation, as suggested by the government, benefit customers?

The proposed privatisation of the Land Registry will be done through NIB. Both property practitioners and the general public have their concerns and this is evidenced by over 200,000 signatures to the 38 degrees petition to stop privatisation.

Practitioners are concerned that the overriding aim to make profit will result in increased costs, a fall in standards for an already overstretched service and more barriers between practitioners and their need for an efficient and accessible service to important property and land data.

Were there any announcements regarding home building?

Yes, the government announced its aim to build one million new homes by planning to launch a £3bn home building fund. This will support the construction of 160,000 to 200,000 homes over the long term with particular emphasis on small developments.

In addition, there are a number of planning reforms to be introduced by NIB including:

  • giving more power to local people through the neighbourhood planning process and improving the process for reviewing and updating plans
  • making sure that local planning authorities impose pre-commencement conditions only where absolutely necessary—excessive use of such conditions is considered to slow down and delay development after the grant of planning permission
  • making the compulsory purchase order process clearer, faster and fairer
What is the significance of the draft Law of Property Bill? What proposals do you imagine will be included? How might this simplify the law around land ownership?

The government wants to simplify the law regarding land ownership with a view to introducing a draft Law of Property Bill. The Law Commission publish

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