Permission in Principle for Brownfield Land

The Government continues to promote the development of housing and two further sets of regulations, The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 and The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017, came into force on 15 April and 16 April respectively in a bid to achieve the Government's aim of 1.3 million homes being built by 2020. 

The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 impose obligations on each local planning authority to prepare and maintain a register of brownfield land in its area which meets the specified criteria.  Each register must be published by 31 December 2017.

The specified criteria are:

  • The land has an area of at least 0.25 hectares or is capable of supporting at least 5 dwellings;
  • The land is suitable for residential development;
  • The land is available for residential development; and
  • Residential development on the land is achievable.

The brownfield register must be kept in 2 parts:

  1. Part 1 must contain a register of land which meets the above criteria; and
  2. Part 2 must contain a register of land which meets the above criteria and which the authority has decided to allocate for residential development.

Any land listed on Part 1 of the register should also be listed on Part 2 of the register provided that:

  1. An exemption under the regulations does not apply; and
  2. The authority has decided to allocate the land for development once it has complied with the publicity, notification and consultation obligations under the regulations.   

All land contained in Part 2 of the register will be granted permission in principle under The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017.  The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 further:

  • Specifies the information which the brownfield register must contain if permission in principle is to be granted;
  • Provides that the authority may set a date when permission in principle in relation to an allocation comes into force;
  • Obliges each authority to keep a register of all permission in principles within the planning register; and
  • Provides that technical details applications must be determined within 5 years in relation to permission in principle.

Whilst these measures are a positive step to promote the development of housing on brownfield sites through the granting of permission in principle, it is questionable whether the measures will indeed lead to a greater number of houses being built as viability will still be an issue for a large number of brownfield sites.

Posted on: 13/04/2017

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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