In introducing a motion for leave to bring in the bill Greg Mulholland MP stated that the planning community involvement bill sought to build on the initiatives in the Localism Act 2011 to give communities more of a say in planning decisions, and to amend the national planning policy framework. He added that despite having much to commend it and despite it being a much-needed simplification of planning law, that framework has still not got the balance right between the rights of developers and those of local communities. It is also not being properly implemented by some local authorities.
Mr Mulholland states that the measures in the bill are supported by organisations such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which has suggested a number of measures, the Campaign for Real Ale, Civic Voice, and also by the Local Government Association and local councils.
The bill would also abolish the right of developers to appeal. Mr Mulholland states that there has been an inequity between communities and developers for too long. A report by Savills estate agents shows that 75% of all planning appeals for large housing developments are allowed after local councils have originally voted them down. His bill proposes to abolish the right to override local authority decisions by appealing to a distant planning inspector. He states that would be good news for the Treasury, because the Planning Inspectorate would be abolished, saving £50 million a year.
Mr Mulholland points out that paragraph 49 of the NPPF should be amended to demand that developers must still meet local policy objectives, such as where a local authority seeks to prioritise development on brownfield sites before greenfield sites, and remove councils being unable to demonstrate a five-year land supply.
The bill would also drop the requirement in the NPPF that local authorities should allocate an additional 20% buffer of deliverable housing sites. Developers can cause a 20% buffer to be required, rather than a 5% buffer, by under-delivering housing, so they are manipulating the system.
Date: 30 April 2014 First reading of bill
DCP link: This item updates DCP section 4.012