The CIL (Amendment) Regulations 2014 laid before Parliament will extend the period in which local authorities can introduce CIL from April 2014 to 2015, in the interim the authorities without CIL will be able to continue to pool s106 contributions. The following is the list of amendments and these are due to come into force in January 2014.

  • A new mandatory exemption for self-build housing, including communal development, and new mandatory exemptions for residential annexes and extension;
  • Where a council has published a draft Regulation 123 list (identifying the types of infrastructure that CIL is intended to fund) this must be used to inform the charging schedule
  • Allowing local authorities to set different rates to the proposed size of development as well as the proposed number of units
  • A new option will be introduced to allow local authorities to accept payments through the provision of on-site or off-site infrastructure for the whole or part of the levy payable.
  • A requirement on the local 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;
  • A change which ensures that if any planning permission is phased, then each phase will be a different chargeable amount and an amendment to allow CIL to be paid through the provision of infrastructure.
  • Extension of the vacancy test when a building has been in continuous lawful use for at least 6 out of the last 12 months. The test will be extended to cover buildings that have been in use for a continuous period of 6months in the last 3 years.

The government will review CIL in 2015 to assess whether the levy has increased funding for infrastructure, the level of infrastructure provided and the extent in which this has supported development.

Government announces investment in ‘Local Pinch Point Fund’

The Transport Secretary has announced an investment of £49m into the Local Pinch Point Fund for 25 local road schemes to help ease congestion. This is on top of 87 schemes already announced this year which includes funding to improve; Junction 1 of the M55 and Junction 19 of the M62. The 25 new pinch points will be delivered in 2014/15. To date the funding in this scheme has the potential to support more than 200,000 jobs and reflects the government’s commitment to supporting economic growth to help boost Britain’s competitiveness in the global economic race.

New Lower Thames Crossing – Update

The Department for Transport has been considering 3 proposals of where to put a new crossing over the River Thames. Option B has now been rejected as it could jeopardise the major redevelopment of the Swanscombe Peninsula, the remaining two options are:

  • Option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock river crossing
  • Option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30 and Option C variant: additionally widening the A229 between the M2 and M20.

The DfT is now seeking further advice on both options and a further announcement will be made as soon as possible. The department has reiterated that it is committed to introducing free flow charging at the Dartford Crossing by October 2014 to help reduce the existing congestion in the short-term. Further information on the two options can be found here.

Westminster Council topic papers - Update

The London Borough of Westminster has continued to release its topic papers for public consultation with the release of the Mayfair and St. James’s Special Policy Area and the Flood Risk Policy papers. More details can be found here.

‘Garden Cities’ are not the answer to deliver new homes

Nick Boles stated on BBC Radio 4 that he didn’t feel garden cities were the answer to delivering new homes, despite him claiming he is a fan of them. He went on to state that small scale and self-build schemes were most likely to secure local support from countryside communities.

New ‘City Deals’

‘City Deals’ have been designated by the Government to put cities and city regions in control of the economic opportunities/challenges facing them by giving them increased powers to meet local and regional demands. The following cities/city regions have been granted ‘City Deal’ status:

  • Coventry/Warwick
  • Norwich
  • Black Country
  • Tess Valley
  • Hull and Humber

Neighbourhood Plans – Update

  • The first Neighbourhood Plan to be approved by referendum in London was the NP for the Norland Conservation Area in Holland Park.
  • Lynton and Lynmouth NP in North Devon has been adopted following an 81% approval at referendum.
  • Broughton Astely and Cringleford NPs are due to go to referendum in January 2014.

55% of English councils have to date received a NP area application according to the DCLG. The DCLG has stated that a recurring theme in the examiners reports is the need for planning policies to be written in a clearer and concise manner, which is supported by a robust evidence base to demonstrate that the NP is deliverable.

Cockermouth NP in Allerdale is the first plan to submit a Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO) for examination. If adopted this will support growth in the town centre. There will be no need to apply to the council for planning permission for development covered by the order, such as allowing restaurants to open onto the public highway.

Housing schemes refused due to conflicting with the local Neighbourhood Plan

Two housing schemes have been refused on the grounds that the emerging Neighbourhood Plans haven’t allocated the land for development and thus if the applications were approved these would undermine the NPs to the extent that they would have to be abandoned. These two schemes are for a 100 dwelling site in East Staffordshire and a 184 dwelling site in Cheshire West. Both applications used the government’s new draft National Planning Practise Guidance which states applications can be refused in exceptional circumstances as being premature as the sites were not identified for housing under the emerging Neighbourhood Plans.

Sites with Planning Permission - Update

Nick Boles has announced that as of the 2nd December there is an estimated 523,700 residential units with planning permission, of these:

  • 267,500 (51%) have started on site
  • 184,400 (35%) were progressing towards a start
  • 57,100 (11%) were classed as on hold or shelved (2,000 less than October)
  • The remainder (3%) had either been sold, were due to be sold or the information was not available

New Homes Bonus – Update

The Housing Minister has published the latest details of the New Homes Bonus Payment which shows that English councils have received over £2bn for helping to deliver 550,000 more homes, which has led to housing construction at its highest level since 2007. Councils are free to spend the money as they see fit such as freezing council tax or supporting frontline services.

LOCAL PLAN NEWS

Bury Council – Core Strategy submitted for examination – date is yet to be confirmed.

City of London – The Local Plan and Policies Map are open for consultation and can be found here: The Local Plan is due to be adopted at the end of 2014 and will replace the UDP and supersede the Core Strategy.

Ipswich Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.

London Borough of Ealing – and the Major of London have launched a consultation on the Southall Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) which sets the vision for the area for the next 20 years and includes at least 6,000 new homes. More details can be found here.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
– The Solihull Local Plan 2011-2028 was adopted by the council on 3rd December and replaces the saved policies of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan.

Test Valley Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy, Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation and can be found here.

West Oxfordshire District Council – the West Oxfordshire Local Plan has been temporarily paused to wait for the findings in Strategic Housing Market Assessment to be published in January. The council has opened for consultation on Affordable Housing provision  and the Community Infrastructure Levy, Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule