Levelling-up and Regeneration Act gains Royal Assent
26 Oct 2023
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act received Royal Assent today, 26 October.
Most of the sections directly related to development management and plan-making have not commenced and will require secondary legislation.
The provisions relating to land dealings and housing delivery are among the only planning-related sections to have a known commencement date. This appears to demonstrate the importance that the Government is placing on seeking to address concerns raised by MPs and the Lords, regarding their perception that planning permissions are not built out swiftly enough and that land-banking is taking place at scale (notwithstanding evidence
to the contrary) and ahead of the outcomes of the Competition and Markets Authority's work in the housing sector
Below is a summary of the key planning-related sections that will apply in England. The summary does not make reference to the proposed secondary legislation and policy which, as explained via consultation documents, would deliver the policy intention of the new Levelling up and Regeneration Act 2023.
Planning-related sections of the Act for which a commencement date is known or partially known, are as follows:
Information about land dealings and legislation intended to encourage build out:
- The introduction of commencement notices and completion notices, power to decline to determine applications in cases of earlier non-implementation and a condition requiring development progress reports. These provisions are intended to encourage build out and facilitate the tracking of housing delivery; this will require completion within a given timeframe where considered appropriate. Most of these sections have come into force, in so far as they confer a power to make regulations, in two months’ time, to allow the necessary legislation to be made.
- The collation of information about dealings and interests in land and the making of this data public. This section has commenced, but secondary legislation is still required for its conferral.
Environmental outcomes reports:
- Environmental Outcomes Reports, which would replace Environmental Impact Assessment, Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment. These sections will come into force in two months’ time, but secondary legislation is still required.
Other key planning related sections of the Act, which do not have yet have an appointed commencement date, include:
- A streamlined 30 month plan-making system, including supplementary development plans and area-wide design codes forming part of the development plan, formal repealing of the duty to cooperate, and voluntary joint spatial strategies.
- The content of development plans and spatial strategies, to be included under the new system of plan-making.
- Stronger weight to be given to the development plan, which would not repeat new National Development Management Policies (NDMPs). NDMPs would trump other national policy and development plan policy.
- A new Section 73B route to vary planning permissions, which can include descriptions of development but must not create a substantially different effect from that of the existing permission (secondary legislation not required, but no commencement date yet).
- An Infrastructure Levy, to replace the Community Infrastructure Levy at local level and to incorporate affordable housing contributions.
- Heritage related provisions, including providing Scheduled Monuments, Protected Wreck Sites, Registered Parks and Gardens, Registered Battlefields, World Heritage Sites with the same status as Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas, to which there is a general statutory duty to have special regard.
- Enforcement provisions, including that LPAs will have ten years to take enforcement action (still four years in Wales for certain breaches).
- Changes to compulsory purchase order procedures, including the removal of ‘hope value’ compensation when certain public authorities exercise compulsory purchase powers related to housing, education, or health facilities.
- High street rental auctions to allow LPAs to designate a street or specified area as locally important, meaning if a property is empty for a year LPAs can instigate a rental auction.
- Community Land Auctions designed to capture the value uplift of sites when they are allocated in a local plan.
- Digitisation, including compliance with data standards by local authorities and planning applicants.
Lichfields will provide detailed analysis of these planning reform proposals, and how each would work in practice via policy and secondary legislation, in due course. Subscribe to receive our blogs
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