It looks as if at least one of the more radical reforms in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is due to come into effect in the not too distant future. 

Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) is a mechanism by which allocated sites could be given the equivalent of an outline planning consent for specific types of development, without the need for an express planning application.  

The idea is to enable prospective developers to bid on and invest in a site in the knowledge that the principle of development is acceptable, leaving them to  apply for 'technical approval', a process akin to a reserved matters application, to complete the procedure and allow development on site to get underway.

The new type of consent, which would only apply in England, requires secondary legislation before it can be effective. These regulations are currently before parliament, in draft form, and require approval by both the Commons and the Lords, before they can be made into law. 

The draft regulations are aimed at making sure that the new type of consent fits in with wider planning related legislation, and contains a number of amendments to other statutes to secure this:

  • amendments to the Local Government Act 1972 are intended to ensure that an application for PPiP made by the LPA is not treated as 'exempt information'
  • amendments are also proposed to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to ensure that PPiP attaches to and runs with the land in the same way as more conventional consents; and that PPiP consents are included on the Council's planning register. 
  • amendments are also included to ensure that s.96A applications (for non-material amendments to permissions) can also be made in respect of PPiP consents. 
  • amendments are proposed to Schedule 1A of the Commons Act 2006 to ensure that a grant of PPiP will trigger the same protections from registration of the site as a Village Green as a 'standard' planning permission.  Termination events (which bring the village green protections to an end) are also set in the event that the PPiP consent expires without implementation; and
  • consequential amendments are made to the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990

Given that large portions of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 require subordinate legislation to come into effect, it is possible that these regulations are the first in a long line of Statutory Instruments that Parliament will have to deal with in 2017.

On a slightly less technical note, and as a reward for anyone who has lasted to the end of this post, I have a bit of housekeeping news to share.  

I am going to be on holiday for a few weeks and in my absence, Brian Dowling and Peter Busby have agreed to keep you all informed about any breaking planning news (which, with a bit of luck, will include the Housing White Paper).

See you all in February!