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Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Prior approval for permitted development debated

Words: Laura Edgar
Community planning

The House of Lords’ consideration of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill continued as they debated amendments on permitted development rights and land use after planning permission has lapsed.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab) moved an amendment (14) that sought to, he said, provide the local planning authority and community with a “degree of influence in developments that have been approved by way of permitted development rights in respect of a change to residential use”.

Kennedy explained that the amendment sets out the matters for which the developer has to apply to the local planning authority to see if prior approval is required.

If not dealt with properly, “all the matters listed in the amendment could lead to inappropriate development or development that is not sustainable and does not enhance the area, potentially causing significant problems for the local community”.

Lady Cumberlege (Con), speaking on behalf of Lord Porter, said that permitted development can be a useful way of speeding up building the homes, infrastructure and communities needed.

But, she said “councils should have to consider the impact that new developments are having across an area".

"Local planning authorities and their communities," she continued, "should have a greater say on the cumulative impact of new development falling within existing permitted development rights that affects their local area.”

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Con), the parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Communities and Local Government and Wales Office, stated when new permitted development rights are designed, “we work to ensure that any matters that we think require the consideration of the local planning authority are included in the prior approval contained within that right”.

He noted that certain criteria have to be considered in the prior approval process for the change of office to residential, including some of the matters in amendment 14.

Therefore he asked Kennedy to withdraw the amendment, which he did.

Kennedy then proposed amendment 15. He explained: “If planning permission lapses, the local authority may direct the use of that land for purposes relating to priorities in the local development plan or neighbourhood plan.”

Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville (LD), who proposed the amendment alongside Kennedy, said the problems the amendment sought to address were not isolated to just London and other urban areas. People in rural areas suffer “significant frustration” when planning permission has been approved but nothing happens.

Bourne said he appreciated and supported the intention the amendment sought to address, but said he thought it was not needed at the moment and that the impending housing white paper would cover the issue. Therefore he asked Kennedy to withdraw the amendment.

Bourne proposed clause 11: statements of community involvement, which he said would clarify how communities can be involved in decisions about the wider planning of their area.

“It extends the matters to be set out by a local planning authority in its statement of community involvement. This will ensure that authorities include in these statements their policies for involving their communities and others in the preliminary stages of plan-making. Specifically in relation to their functions under Sections 13 and 15 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, these include a local planning authority’s survey function and the preparation and maintenance of a local development scheme.”

Speaking about government amendments 21, 22 and 23. These, he explained, would allow the secretary of state to produce regulations that set out further matters which local planning authorities must address in statements of community involvement. They aim to ensure that the government can clarify further for communities, including neighbourhood planning groups, how they can play a role in the development of their area.

All three amendments were agreed, while an amended clause 11 was agreed.

Amendment 19 was also agreed.

Amendments 16, 17, 17A, 24, 25 and 27 were withdrawn.

Amendments 18, 20, 26 and 27A were not moved.

An amended clause 6 was agreed. Clauses 7, 8, 9, 10 were agreed.

The  full transcript of the session can be found here.

Read more about the Neighbourhood Planning Bill:

Neighbourhood Planning Bill launched

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Reaction

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Building should start as soon as possible after permission granted

Neighbourhood Planning Bill update

Amendments to Neighbourhood Planning Bill sought

Barwell clarifies policy on neighbourhood plans and lack of housing land

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Barwell assures MPs new guidance addresses their concerns

RTPI publishes Neighbourhood Planning Bill brief

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Lords express concerns about planning conditions measures

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Lords approve government changes

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