Thursday, 6 June 2013

Changes to streamline planning process on way in England

The requirement to provide design and access statements for modest projects in England will come to end on 25 June, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.  The implementation date emerged in a statement to parliament following the Government’s response to consultation published earlier this year on streamlining the planning application process.

In line with its proposals, design and access statements will only be required for major development – buildings more than 1,000 square metres and housing developments of 10 dwellings or more – and listed building consent.

However, the government has lowered the threshold for developments in conservation areas that will need statements to a single dwelling or development of 100 square metres or more; this limit was seen as simpler to apply than its original proposal.

The government has also confirmed that it will bring forward changes to the system of local lists (of information requirements) maintained by local planning authorities to validate applications, and end the requirement for planners to produce a written summary of their reasons for granting planning permission.

A more proportionate approach to the information requirement of design and access statements is also introduced, with the aim of eliminating demands for irrelevant information. The statutory prescription for a statement currently in place calls for an explanation, in turn, of the specific design principles and concepts that have been applied to various elements of the application.

And both applicants and local authorities are instructed to give full consideration from now on to the scope of information requests used to validate applications to ensure that information is ‘really necessary’. Applicants will be able to challenge whether demands are appropriate to a project, and planners will have to respond by granting a waiver or making a case for the information with regard to the government’s revised regulations.

The Government has decided not to go ahead with proposals to reintroduce a right of appeal against non-determination, where local authorities have refused to validate planning applications on the basis of insufficient information. Instead the DCLG says it will monitor the implementation of its new arrangements before introducing such a change.

Details of these forthcoming changes are set out in the Amendment to the Development Management Procedure Order laid before Parliament this week.

Development Management Procedure Order

Government response to public consultation on this package

Re-blogged from RIBA Practice Bulletin

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