Key Planning Points from the National Infrastructure Plan - published 04/12/2013
The National Infrastructure Plan has been published ahead of tomorrow's Autumn Statement, including some planning and development measures. These form part of a new package of planning measures focussed in particular on further improvements to speed up the end-to-end process which will be published in full as part of tomorrow's Autumn Statement. In particular:
- The government will consult on measures to improve plan making, including introducing a statutory requirement to put a Local Plan in place.
- The government will legislate so that where a planning authority has failed to discharge a condition on time, it will be treated as approved, and will consult on using legislative measures to strengthen the requirement for planning authorities to justify conditions that must be discharged before any work can start.
- To prevent delays for applicants, the government will consult on proposals to reduce the number of applications where unnecessary statutory consultations occur, and key statutory consultees will commit to a common service agreement. The government will also pilot a new scheme to provide a single point of contact for cases where a point of conflict in advice cannot be resolved locally.
- The government wants to ensure that households benefit from developments in their local area. Building on the measures it has already put in place at the local authority and community level (including the neighbourhood funding element of the Community Infrastructure Levy, ‘Community Benefits’ in the energy sector and the New Homes Bonus), the government will work with industry, local authorities and other interested parties to develop a pilot passing a share of the benefits of development directly to individual households.
East of England off to a flying start!
The new Alliance East of England office celebrated its first three months of business with an endurance karting event at Daytona Milton Keynes. 42 racers enjoyed a superb autumn evening racing around the international circuit for 1.5 hours. A variety of existing and new clients took turns to post the highest lap times and reach pole position. Top spot was eventually taken by Team 2 made up of Colin Munro of Bouygues Development, Daniel Chadwick of Corstorphine & Wright Architects and Edward Valletta of Kimbolton School. Congratulations to them and thanks to all who participated in the event.
Amendment to Appeal Process
An amended appeal process is now in force for all forms of appeal, which essentially limits the ability for appellants to submit their appeal at the last minute. The process is now heavily front-loaded and requires the submission of the full Statement of Case (and Statement of Common Ground for Hearing and Inquiries) at the outset, along with the appeal application forms, prior to the 6 month deadline.
Given the timescales to prepare a robust Statement of Case, especially for larger applications where input from other specialists, including a barrister, may be required, the process will need to begin well in advance of the 6 month deadline.
Despite the level of information required to be submitted at the outset of the appeal, the Inspectorate still has the ability to then determine the format of the appeal, which in itself can lead to issues, given the varying levels of information required for each appeal route.
The changes are aimed at speeding up the determination process, but the appellant needs to consider this as soon as they receive their decision notice, not leave it until the last minute. In our view, the amended process may also be a benefit for the Local Authority, who will have sight of the appellants full statement prior to the submission of their rebuttal comments.