Inform: Planning & Environmental Update - November 2010

Local Growth White Paper

The White Paper gives an insight into the changes which will be brought about by the Localism Bill. It sets out how the Regional Development Agencies will be 'wound up' and their assets disposed of, it introduces a "national presumption in favour of sustainable development" to be applied on all decisions on planning applications and it proposes the creation of neighbourhood plans and giving local communities a "Right to Build".

There is also to be a fundamental reform and streamlining of national planning policy and guidance including placing a new statutory duty to cooperate on local authorities, public bodies involved in plan making and private bodies that are critical to plan making such as infrastructure providers.

Additionally the White Paper sets out more information on the New Homes Bonus scheme which is to start in 2011-2012 and will match fund additional Council Tax for each new home and property brought back into use for a period of six years after the new home is built.

Cala Homes decision and Regional Spatial Strategies (RS)

Despite the judgment from the High Court stating that the abolition of the Regional Spatial Strategies was unlawful and therefore RSs remain as an ongoing part of development plans, the Secretary of State countered this with his ministerial statement and advice letter to local planning authorities on 10 November. The letter attached a copy of the proposed clause to be contained in the Localism Bill which will abolish RSs, and advised that the Localism Bill is expected to begin its passage through Parliament before the end of the year.

The Secretary of State also advised that despite the re establishing of the RSs by the Cala judgment, local planning authorities and the Planning Inspectorate should still have regard to the Government's intention to abolish the RSs as a material consideration in planning decisions.

The Planning Inspectorate subsequently issued further guidance to inspectors on the impact of the Cala Homes decision and how inspectors should continue to take into account the RSs as part of the development plan in all cases where it contains relevant policy but that the Governments intention to abolish RSs is a material consideration.

The issue was that those...

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