South West planning news, October 2018


South West planning news, October 2018

01 Oct 2018



Headline news


New rules for pre-commencement conditions now in force

On 1 October, new rules for pre-commencement conditions come into force, as a result of secondary legislation that was made and laid in May this year.
There is now a new procedure in place, whereby applicants have to give their written consent to any pre-commencement condition. It applies to pre-commencement conditions imposed only on a grant of planning permission (but not when granted in outline) on or after 1 October 2018. The new procedure is therefore relevant to planning applications that have already been made and that will be determined from now onwards.
Lichfields has already covered the new procedure and its ramifications extensively; the PPG also explains succinctly how it operates.

Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017, s14 (‘Restrictions on power to impose planning conditions’)The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No.5) Regulations 2018Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018 and Explanatory MemorandumLichfields’ Planning Matters, Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 – New procedures for pre-commencement conditions come into effect from October 2018Lichfields’ England Planning News, June 2018PPG, The use of pre-commencement conditions



Quote of the month

The Great South West already has an economy twice the size of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. We have the largest building project in Europe underway at Hinkley Point C, as well as unrivalled natural assets that attract more visitors than anywhere outside London […] We’re looking forward to realising our full potential and increasing our contribution to the UK economy.
Steve Hindley, Chair of the Great South West, announcing the launch of the Great South West Partnership, 7 September 2018



Local news



Additional JSP pre-hearing consultation dates announced

In response to the Inspectors’ preliminary letters, the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) Councils (Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset) have announced an additional round of consultation prior to the examination hearings.
The consultation will consider new documents prepared post-submission, including evidence relating to: Sustainability Appraisal; the duty to cooperate; transport; ‘Strategic Development Locations’; and updates following the new European case law (‘People over Wind’) which influences the Habitats Regulations Assessment. This new evidence will be published on 12 November, with the consultation closing on 21 December 2018. The first round of hearings is then likely to take place from mid-May 2019.

West of England Joint Spatial Plan, ‘JSP Examination’ 17 September 2018Cotswold District Council, Council agrees adoption of the Local Plan and Community Infrastructure Levy, 3 August 2018


Great South West launched by LEPs

The ‘Great South West’ partnership has been launched by various local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), local government, business leaders and universities, following in the footsteps of the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine. The partnership of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Heart of the South West and Dorset LEPs seeks to promote the region and secure funding to boost productivity and growth. It is being promoted in the House of Commons by Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset.
Plans were presented to MPs at Westminster on 7 September which sought to demonstrate the contribution the region already makes to the UK economy, and which stressed the potential productivity gains from funding commensurate with other regions. The Great South West area already contributes more to GVA than both the Thames Gateway and the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Great South WestHeart of SW LEP, Great South West set to rival Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine

West of England Joint Committee discusses £74 million investment opportunities

The Joint Committee for the West of England has discussed how to spend £74m of funding for projects aimed at driving economic growth. The Joint Committee represents the West of England Combined Authority, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, and the West of England LEP.
Key projects being considered include: £64m investment in flood defences at the Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area; £9m investment in the Bath Innovation Pioneer Project, to buy and refurbish office space for high growth businesses; and £1.5m on Keynsham’s high street public realm improvements.

West of England Combined Authority, West of England set to discuss £74m investment


National news



Ombudsman guidance to help planning authorities clarify decision-making process

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman published guidance on 17 September that is aimed at improving the transparency and clarity of the planning decision-making process, in a bid to reduce the amount of complaints received.
The report considers how authorities often fail to effectively explain: how material planning considerations have been taken into account; and what has been taken into consideration when reaching a decision. The guidance also covers how local planning authorities should provide clear records of planning decisions and the reasons for them, through improved recording procedures.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Recording planning decisions

Chief Planner provides updates on planning reforms

On 14 September, Chief Planner Steve Quartermain issued a planning update newsletter outlining the Government’s progress on its programme of planning reforms.
The reforms covered include: the revised NPPF; updated PPG; the independent review of planning appeal inquiries; changes to pre-commencement conditions; the 2017/18 Annual Casework Report to Parliament; developer contributions and open data tools; design charrettes (a Call for Expressions of Interest); and the Local Digital Declaration and Fund.

MHCLG, Planning update newsletter




The Lichfields perspective

The new pre-commencement condition measures should discourage decision-makers from including unnecessary conditions that might slow down starts on-site, or even prevent development from happening at all. We expect that at least for major schemes, councils will continue best practice - they will discuss and try to agree proposed pre-commencement conditions with applicants before issuing the notice required by the regulations, to ensure that there are no surprises at such a late stage in the determination process. It is likely that overall, the new rules will lead to the more reasonable use of pre-commencement conditions – and to applicants accepting them, to ensure that planning permission is granted.
Tom Davies, Planning Researcher


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116