Planning implications of the 2012 Budget
The reform the planning system remains a high priority of the Government and a number of further proposals were announced in the 2012 Budget.
1.) The National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework was published on 27 March 2012 which will condense over 1000 pages of planning policy into a 58 page document and result in the "biggest reduction in business red tape ever undertaken".
There have already been significant concerns raised by environmental groups regarding the protection of the countryside, which they see as being under threat by the proposed presumption in favour of sustainable development, which has been a central element of initial drafts of the NPPF. The suggestion of the Government is that this presumption in favour of sustainable development principle will remain but may be subject to a number of restrictions relating to development in green belt areas.
We will provide further updates on the NPPF shortly.
2.) Simplifying the Planning System
The Budget announced a number of measures that could potentially result in the simplification of the planning system. These measures include amending the permitted development rights to make changing the use of buildings easier, reducing the information requirements for planning applications, and a 12 month application guarantee.
It must however be noted that these measures have been stated in previous government proposals and any changes will still require a degree of public consultation. It is accordingly unlikely that any formal changes will come into force until April 2013.
3.) Section 106 Agreements
It was announced that consultation will take place on proposals to allow the reconsideration of Section 106 Agreements agreed before April 2010 where development is stalled. This will allow a review of Agreements that under current legislation would only be capable of being done by formal application and potential appeal following 5 years of being entered into.
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.