Ministers quietly expand scope of ‘planning in principle’ power from brownfield sites to areas earmarked for development in local plans.
Government documents said the new power will apply to “housing identified in local plans and neighbourhood plans” including greenfield areas, that ‘planning in principle’ will give “upfront certainty” for developers on the location, use and size of the new development.
The new Housing Bill has its second reading today. See the article in the Daily Telegraph:
“Tens of thousands of new homes in greenfield areas in England will be given automatic planning permission amid fears that communities will have inappropriate developments forced on them. Ministers have quietly given developers the right to be granted “planning in principle” in areas that are earmarked for new housing schemes.
Rural campaigners said the new powers will restrict the rights of council planning officers to ensure that the design, density, size and location of homes is in keeping with local areas.
Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: ““The country needs more house building, but the way to achieve this is through well-planned developments that win public consent. Imposing development without local democratic oversight is a recipe for discord.
“Poor quality, unplanned development may boost the profits of the big builders, but it will do very little to address the housing crisis.”
Ministers have quietly expanded the scope of this “planning in principle” power in recent weeks from brownfield sites to areas earmarked for development in local plans.
Just three weeks ago David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that the new “planning in principle” changes would apply to brownfield sites like former car parks and industrial areas.
However Government documents said the new power will apply to “housing identified in local plans and neighbourhood plans” which include greenfield areas.
They said that ‘planning in principle’ will give “upfront certainty” for developers on the location, use and size of the new development.
Councils will be able to vet unspecified “technical” details on developments, but will be denied the outright ability to block housing schemes they consider inappropriate.
One document states: “The Government proposes to legislate to enable the Secretary of State to grant ‘permission in principle’ via a development order to land that is allocated for development in locally produced plans and registers.”
Whitehall forecasts say the new plans could be used to give approvals to homes on 7,000 building sites a year.
Whitehall documents published alongside the Bill say: “The total number of developments annually that could benefit from permission in principle will grow as plans and registers come on stream and make site allocations.” ”
Christopher Hope, Chief Political Correspondent 2 Nov 2015 Daily Telegraph