The proposal for "planning permission in principle" (PPIP), is intended to boost certainty for developers and improve efficiency by avoiding the multiple testing of key issues for housing schemes.
Under the government’s plans, subject to certain constraints, PPIP will be granted automatically when key "qualifying documents" such as development plan documents, neighbourhood plans and brownfield registers, are adopted. Developers will also be able to apply direct to councils for a grant of PPIP.
A subsequent stage will allow for further scrutiny of technical details, but councils will be precluded from revisiting the principle of qualifying proposals at this point.
The bill also introduces a requirement for councils to compile and maintain registers of brownfield land suitable for housing, which will be one of the mechanisms for granting PPIP.
The bill also proposes:
- enhanced powers for the communities secretary in plan preparation and examination, including powers to order councils to submit plans to examination and publish inspector reports; and to direct planning inspectors to suspend examinations and consider specified matters
- extra powers for the secretary of state to intervene in neighbourhood plan preparation
- giving developers the ability to submit applications for non-major development to the Planning Inspectorate in cases where the council has a very poor track record in speed or quality of decision-making
- a new duty on councils to state the potential financial benefits of proposed developments when reporting to planning committees
- enabling development consent for homes to be granted under the nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) regime, in certain cases
- new duties for local planning authorities specifically in relation to ‘starter homes’, including a requirement to ensure that starter homes are delivered "on all reasonably-sized sites"
- a new duty on local authorities to grant planning permissions for serviced plots, sufficient to meet the demand for self-build housing in their area