Government extends Community Infrastructure Levy Implementation deadline

The Government has indicated it will make a series of further amendments to CIL regulations following on from the consultation undertaken earlier this year. The main changes are:

•   an extension of the period for local authorities to introduce CIL with the effective date being pushed back from April 2014 to 2015. In the interim, these authorities without CIL will be able to continue pooling s106 contributions.

• an exemption for residential extensions and annexes from the levy

• a requirement on the charging authority to strike an appropriate balance between the desirability of funding infrastructure from the levy and the potential effects of the levy on the economic viability of development across the area

• authorities will be allowed to set differential rates by reference to the proposed size of development, or the proposed number of units or dwellings

• reforms to the "vacancy test" so that buildings must have been in use for six continuous months out of the last three years for the levy to apply only to the net addition of floorspace. The rules had previously required a building to be in continuous lawful use for at least six of the previous 12 months

• new payment in kind provisions will be introduced, meaning that, where appropriate and acceptable to the charging authority, "the levy liability should be able to be paid (in whole or in part) through the provision of both land and/or on-site or off-site infrastructure"

Clause allows developers to appeal against affordable housing levels

A clause in the Growth and Infrastructure Act allows developers to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) if they feel the affordable housing requirement made as part of the section 106 agreement renders a scheme unviable. They must first approach the relevant planning authority and seek their agreement to a modification, but if they refuse or fail to reach a decision within 28 days, the developer will have a 3 year window to appeal to PINS. PINS estimates that 100 appeals will be heard over the 3 year period with the first three appeals having been submitted for a; 151, 14 and 100 dwelling developments in Devon, Cornwall and South London respectively.

Cutting planning red tape is part of the Governments Red Tape Challenge

Nick Boles has announced he will reduce the number of technical planning regulations by 57% as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge. This aims to make the planning process more efficient and accessible for people to use and is part of the government’s plan to make sensible changes to regulatory burdens. The proposed changes will:

• consolidate the rules on permitted development which have been amended 17 times and need an overhaul to make them easier to understand

• tackle unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements in the application process

• scrap 38 redundant regulations that are no longer needed

Government grants permission for two major transport schemes

The Department for Transport has granted two development consent orders for two nationally significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs); an upgrade to junction 10a of the M1 and a 3km stretch of double tracking for a railway line in Worcestershire. The M1 junction 10a upgrade aims to reduce congestion on the existing junction with new wider carriageway. The new stretch of double track will allow an extra service to run every hour between Reddich and Birmingham which will increase route capacity by a third. 

New Scottish National Planning Guidance could include a presumption in favour of sustainable development

The Scottish Government is considering introducing the presumption in favour of sustainable development as part of the new Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). This was open for consultation earlier this year and could replace the proposed policy on sustainable economic growth. This new policy is timetabled to be published in June of next year.

Cherwell Council lacks a 5 year housing land supply

Eric Pickles has allowed four appeal schemes totalling 400 homes after ruling that Cherwell District Council, in Oxfordshire, could not demonstrate a five-year housing supply.

South Worcestershire Joint Plan found to be unreliable

Worcester City, Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils preparing the South Worcestershire Joint Development Plan have been told by the planning inspector to revisit their housing and retail floorspace need assessments. The inspector concluded that the current housing assessment is unreliable and that a substantial increase in provision is required. He also concluded that the retail assessment over stated the need for retail space in some towns. The council has until November 8th to plan a timetable for revising their evidence base.

LOCAL PLAN NEWS

Cambridge City Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council – Site Allocations Policies Development Plan Document is seeking views on 40 proposed sites and the consultation can be found here.
South Northamptonshire Council – Settlements and Development Management Policies Local Plan, Issues paper is open for consultation and can be found here.
South Norfolk Council – The Site Specific Allocations and Polices Document, Development Management Policies Document and the Wymondham Area Action Plan are all open for consultation and can be found here.
The City of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey Council – have launched a joint consultation on their Community Infrastructure Levy Draft Charging Schedule and this can be found here.
Gedling Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here: