Budget 2016: 10 things you need to know

10 things you need to know about this week's Budget, including details of proposals to streamline the local plan process and plans for legislation to make it easier for local authorities to work together to create new garden towns.

Treasury: has unveiled details of further planning changes in latest Budget (picture: Ian Bottle)
Treasury: has unveiled details of further planning changes in latest Budget (picture: Ian Bottle)

1. New penalties mooted for missing local plan deadline
The Local Plans Expert Group’s report was published alongside the Budget. The panel, convened by the government to look at ways to streamline the local plan process, has recommended a series of "additional consequences" for local planning authorities that have failed to produce a local plan by early 2017. The government said that it will consult on the panel’s recommendations until 27 April, and will "look at the scope to reduce the weight of outdated plans in decision-making".

2. More backing for garden cities, towns and villages
The Budget says that the government will legislate to "make it easier for local authorities to work together to create new garden towns". The document adds that, for areas that want to establish "smaller settlements", the government "will provide technical and financial support to areas that want to establish garden villages and market towns of between 1,500 and 10,000 homes". A prospectus document published alongside the Budget says that, in exchange for guaranteed housing delivery, the government will work with councils to "identify and deliver planning freedoms to support housing growth including, for example, ensuring that there is greater ability to resist speculative residential planning applications, and to continue protecting the green belt". It adds that the government is "committed to legislating to update the New Towns Act 1981 to ensure there is a fit for purpose vehicle" for the delivery of new garden towns and villages.

3. Statutory deadlines for secretary of state decisions
The Budget document reveals that the government will set statutory three-month deadlines for secretary of state decisions on called-in applications and recovered appeals to "prevent time-delays on decisions on infrastructure, housing and regeneration projects".

4. Scope of plan to ‘build up’ extended beyond London
The Budget document says that plans to make it easier for developers to add upward extensions to buildings in London could be extended to city-regions elsewhere. It says: "Following the consultation on building up in London and to help increase densities on brownfield land and reduce the need to ‘build out’, the government will consult with city-regions on extending similar powers as part of devolution deals".

5. Government aims to minimise delays caused by planning conditions
The government intends to legislate to "ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions can only be used with the agreement of the development, the Budget document says. It adds that the government intends to review the process of deemed discharge for conditions, "to ensure it is effective and its use maximised".

6. Proposals to increase transparency of the land market
The Budget document says that the government will consult on proposals to increase transparency in the property market, "including by improving the visibility of information relating to options to purchase or lease land".

7. Second wave of compulsory purchase reforms on the way
The government will consult on a "second wave" of Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) reforms, with the objective of making the CPO process "clearer, fairer and quicker", the Budget document says.

8. Treasury backing for transport infrastructure projects
The Budget announces that the government will give the green light to High Speed 3 between Leeds and Manchester, accelerate the upgrade of the M62 to a four-lane "smart" motorway and develop future east-west road improvements in the North, "including a new Trans-Pennine tunnel under the Peak District between Sheffield and Manchester". The document also says that the government is giving the green light for London's Crossrail 2 project to proceed to the next stage and will provide a contribution of £80 million to fund its development.

9. Next phase of National Infrastructure Commission’s work revealed
The Budget document reveals that the government has asked Lord Adonis’ National Infrastructure Commission to "develop proposals for unlocking growth, housing and jobs in the Cambridge - Milton Keynes - Oxford corridor". According to the document, the commission’s report will "set out opportunities to maximise the potential for future growth in this corridor".

10. Heseltine to lead Thames Estuary commission
The Budget announces that the government has asked former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine to lead the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission. According to the Budget document, the commission will develop an "ambitious vision and delivery plan for North Kent, South Essex and East London up to 2050. This will focus on supporting the development of high productivity clusters in specific locations". The document adds that the commission will look at how to make the most of opportunities from planned infrastructure such as the Lower Thames Crossing.

The Budget 2016 document is available here.


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