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Articles Planning 12th May 2022

Planning Freethinking: Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill Key Planning Announcements

The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill was introduced into Parliament by the Government on 11 May 2022 with the purpose of ‘transforming struggling towns and cities, supporting local leaders to take back control of regeneration.’ Below we discuss what we consider to be the key planning changes in the Bill and their implications.

Legal Update

  • National Development Management Polices

The proposal is to include reference to them in Section 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, with the ability to displace and override inconsistent development plan policies.

  • Introduction of National infrastructure Levy

The proposed national Infrastructure Levy is to apply across the Country, but the rates will be locally set. The Infrastructure Levy will cover affordable housing and other infrastructure. The Infrastructure Levy will replace the Community Infrastructure Levy, which will remain only in relation to the Mayor of London and Wales.

Our View

If the National Development Management Policies proposal is introduced and effectively used, it could be an effective mechanism to overcome local barriers for developments. However, there is no guarantee that this proposal will be enacted, with past attempts to overcome barriers to providing housing undermined by Tory MPs from certain areas.

The other proposals in the Bill have been diminished significantly from what was in the original Planning White Paper in August 2020 and fall short of providing solutions to solving the housing crisis. Some could potentially introduce barriers for developments and many add complexity to the planning system, making it less accessible to the public and continuing in a direction that is more of a technocratic system.

Unless the provisions for National Development Management policies are introduced and used effectively, it is unlikely that an end to the housing crisis is in sight.

Our view on the introduction of the Infrastructure Levy is set out in our recent Planning Freethinking e-briefing here:
The Queen’s Speech – Planning, Infrastructure and Environment

The national Infrastructure Levy appears similar to the current Community Infrastructure Levy, but will also cover affordable housing. There is no detail regarding the accompanying Section 106 restrictions that will be put in place. The Bill proposes that they will be for the Secretary of State to decide and set out in Regulations later. We understand that these are likely to prevent Section 106 financial contributions, but allow for other Section 106 obligations to remain.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Planning Team or Environment Team if you wish to discuss.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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