Agenda item

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - Planning Implications

This report sets out summary information on the key planning reforms proposed in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which had its first reading before parliament on 11 May 2022.


The report presented to Committee summarised the key planning reforms in the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that could potentially impact on EDDC and changes to the production of the new Local Plan and timetables if major changes were proposed. 


These included:

Ø  The potential risks to the planning system that could impact on the local plan production, including a plan led system and the importance of having an up-to-date Local Plan;

Ø  The removal of the proposals for a zoning system and ‘in-principle’ consent for sites allocated for growth;

Ø  Funding and delivery of infrastructure which would replace the Community Infrastructure Levy and the need for negotiation.  Although this was welcomed it was difficult to understand how this would work;

Ø  Creating beautiful places and improving environmental outcomes;

Ø  Digital transformation and better use of digital technology to increase engagement in the planning system.


The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management reassured Members of the need to move ahead with the new Local Plan as these changes would not be as significant as previously presented in the Planning White Paper.


Members’ comments included:

·         Clarification sought on the outcome of the Environmental Outcome Reports.  The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised it was unclear what extent this would differ from the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessments already carried out or whether it was just a rebranding exercise;

·         Support was expressed for the report;

·         Support to give more weight to neighbourhood plans;

·         Clarification sought on the outcome to remove the requirement of a five year land supply upon the adoption of the Local Plan.   The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised that in his opinion this change was not that significant as the requirement was only to be removed for the first 5 years following adoption of a Local Plan.  He advised that in order to be found sound a Local Plan would need to demonstrate that it delivered a 5 year land supply at least that period of time anyway.

·         Reference was made to the delivery of high quality design and beautiful places and the need to make sure the correct design standards were in place in the Local Plan to build accessible homes suitable for the right stage of life and disability level.  In response Members were advised that the Bill required at District Design Guide to be produced that would be revisited and produced taking into account good design and engagement through community consultation.   The accessibility issues and adaptability issues have been addressed through the new Local Plan and will be further considered through evidence from the Local Needs Assessment.  Members were reminded that they had all been invited to attend a workshop on Friday morning to update Members on the Local Housing Needs Assessment;

·         Reference was made to ‘enhance local democracy and engagement’ and how this would work in terms of how the public would understand the rules on planning;

·         Clarification sought about the pilot community land auction.  The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised there would be some requirement but was unclear what this would be until he had sight of the regulations;

·         Clarification sought on the land value tax and the suggestion that payment would be made at the end of the build out.  What mechanism would be put in place to ensure completion is reached.  What action could be taken?  The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged the concerns raised and emphasised that this issue was why CIL was originally introduced to ensure payment was made in the early stages of development to ensure money was available to deliver infrastructure in good time however this had not worked in the long term due to the lack of match funding.  He stressed this issue could be made worse if developers were required to pay at the end;

·         Clarification sought on who would bear the cost on enforcement action for planning applications.  The Service Lead – Planning Strategy advised that his personal preference was to impose spot fines that would be equivalent to the cost of the planning application, however this was not part of the bill and so the cost would remain with the local authority;

·         It was questioned whether there would be further consultation with Local Authorities as the Bill goes through Parliament.

·         It was questioned whether the Government would look at improving energy efficiency on existing housing stock and whether there would be increased grants to accommodate this.  It was advised Government was taking this forward through the Building Regulations to improve insulation levels and renewable energies in new builds and was happening through the Future Homes Standard through a phased approach.


Strategic Planning Committee Members noted the contents of the report.

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