The New Agenda
Arguably, it is one of the most revolutionary change in planning policy since the Second World War.
On 13th December 2010, the coalition government's Localism Bill came into force. Prior to this date, a general lack of certainty and confidence existed in the planning and construction sectors. Some argue that ambiguities still exist.
In terms of specific policies, the Localism Bill has increased clarity since it came into force. However, the implications are somewhat controversial and debates are still hot (please use our forum if you would like to discuss this and other issues).
Some of the main planning and housing "features" of the Localism Bill are: -
The reassignment of national infrastructure decisions to the secretary of stateThe abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS)Community "right to buy", "right to challenge" and referenda as part of the Big SocietyAuthority for parish councils/newly created neighbourhood forums to develop neighbourhood plans and neighbourhood development ordersRequirement for developers to consult communities before submitting planning applications for large developmentsA proportion of revenue from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to be passed to neighbourhoods and community groupsMore flexibility for councils’ policies on social-housing allocation, tenancies and placing homeless people in private sector accommodationA brand new duty to cooperate on councils and other key public partners (e.g. The Highways Agency
Pre-13th December 2010 feed
Following the formation of the new government, local planning authorities will be given more power. The Con-Dem government want to see local councils and businesses join together to form enterprise partnerships, which will replace regional development agencies.
Following the Green Paper in 2001 (and various modernisation strategies), the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 was formed, to reduce inflexibility and inefficiency within the planning system (Cullingworth & Nadin 2006). Structure plans, local plans and unitary development plans were to be replaced by Local Development Documents (LDDs) under the Local Development Framework (Reeves & Burley, 2002) focussing on the important process of public involvement. However this was/is not a simple transition and can take varying lengths of time for different regions. The Planning Portal website (2009) states that unless expressly replaced by a new policy, old policies (adopted local plan, unitary development plan and structure plan policies) are saved for three years from whichever is the later of: -
• The date of commencement of section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 ('the Act') on 28 September 2004 or
• The date the plan was adopted or approved (Planning Portal Website, 2009).
The transition will allow saved policies from structure plans, local plans made after the PCPA Act and mineral/waste local plans or saved policies. Whereas England will not have a single national plan, Wales is to have a single Wales Spatial Plan, which is the responsibility of the National Assembly. In Scotland, the change to the development plan system involves removing all structure plans, creating a strategic development plan that focuses on employment, housing, transport and the environment over a fifteen year period (UWE material).
Cullingworth, B and Nadin, V (2006). Town and Country Planning in the UK (14th Edition), Routledge, LondonPlanning Portal Website, 2009·Reeves, D & Burley, K (2002). Public Inquiries and Development Plans in England: The Role of Planning Aid. Planning Practice and Research 17, 4, pp 407-428