The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill received Royal Assent on 26th October 2023 and is now officially the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023. However, some of the sections relating to development management and plan-making have not commenced and will require secondary legislation.
It is intended that the Act will, among other things, help in delivering new housing, regenerating high streets and bringing vacant properties back to life.
Some of the key changes are:
A simpler alternative to the neighbourhood planning process will be introduced, providing communities with a more accessible way to set out their key priorities and preferences for their local areas.
The scope of Local Plans will be limited to locally specific matters and issues that apply in most areas will be covered by a new suite of national policies.
Councils will have the power to decline to determine applications from applicants who have been slow to implement previous permissions across their entire authority areas.
Residents will be given greater control over developments through a ‘street vote’ system which will permit residents to propose development on their street and hold a vote on whether planning permission should be given.
A new levy will replace Section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy.
Loopholes preventing or delaying planning enforcement will be closed.
The period for taking enforcement action will be increased in all cases to 10 years except in Wales where 4 years will continue to apply for certain developments.
Planning application fees will be raised by 35% and 25% for major and minor applications respectively on 6th December 2023.
Tools to force developers to complete schemes will be made easier for authorities to use.
A new duty will be introduced on councils to grant sufficient permission for self and custom build housing to include pre-existing, unmet demand for this type of housing.
The Secretary of State can allow planning inspectors the power to conduct proceedings “wholly or partly remotely”.
All the changes are designed to ensure that developments are sustainable and more energy efficient and with the aim of speeding up the planning process.
If you would like more information on the above or would like to find out how our Planning & Development team can help you take advantage of the changes being introduced to the planning system, please contact me.