Wales planning news, July 2020


Wales planning news, July 2020

02 Jul 2020



Headline news


Welsh Government to amend fee structure

The Welsh Government has published its response to a recent consultation seeking views on proposals to change the planning fee regulations. This relates specifically to a proposed increase of 20% for all planning and related application fees, with the exception of pre-application services.
The Welsh Government has confirmed its intention to increase fees in line with those outlined in the consultation, and that it will progress its plans to introduce a fee of £230 for applications for Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development.
The fee increase is intended to help local authorities recover some of the additional costs for development management activities following the emergence of new policy and legislative requirements introduced since fees were last set.
Whilst it is acknowledged that the increase may not be sufficient to enable LPAs to fully recover their costs, the Welsh Government has stated that it intends to continue to monitor the costs associated with delivering the development management service, and will continue to try to recover costs wherever possible.

Welsh Government, Changes to planning and related applications fee - Consultation summary of responses



Quote of the month


[...] a balance must be struck between making provision for LPAs to recover more of their costs to provide an adequate and timely development management service and not significantly disadvantaging applicants through disproportionate fees, or discouraging people from engaging with the planning system. On this basis, we consider the proposed 20% increase in fees appropriate in achieving this aim. We acknowledge this increase may not be sufficient to enable LPAs to fully recover their costs

Welsh Government’s comments on proposals to increase planning fees


Public Accounts Committee report on effectiveness of Welsh LPAs

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report which considers how local planning authorities across Wales have adapted to recent legislative and policy reforms, and whether these have been an effective and efficient means of helping the Welsh Government realise the aims of its Well-being of Future Generations agenda.
The Committee notes that local planning authorities are struggling to manage the delivery of services, with many facing challenges regarding capacity and reductions in resourcing. The Committee have suggested that the Welsh Government addresses the cuts made to planning budgets.
Of particular interest for the development sector, the Committee has suggested a number of changes to the way S106 agreements are made. It suggests greater standardisation of development appraisals, suggesting these should be based on a single data source, using the building cost information service construction data, to improve the reliability of estimates, plan costs and benchmarks.
A tranche payment system is also suggested for S106 contributions, with developers paying a third of the agreed sum on the date at which planning permission is granted; a third when development is begun; and the final third when a site is fully developed.
The Committee welcomes the Government’s recent commitment to establishing a Welsh Planning Code, though questions whether this would sufficiently address the divergence in the Planning systems between Wales and England. It recommends that this should be enshrined in law to deliver greater consistency over planning decisions. It also recommends that the Welsh Government makes Placemaking and Place Plans statutory.

Welsh Parliament Public Accounts Committee, Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Local Planning Authorities in Wales

ONS publishes revised population projections following previous processing error

The Office for National Statistics has published revised population projections following an error that was flagged earlier in the year. A processing error had resulted in the miscalculation of cross-border flows between Wales and England. This had resulted in the mid-2028 population for Wales being approximately 65,000 too low, with the figure for England being 65,000 too high.
The revised figures now show a different long term trend for Wales, with the total population expected to increase by 2.7% to 3.22 million by 2028, and by 3.7% to 3.26 million by 2043.
The projections, which indicate the potential future size and age structure of the population across the UK and its constituent countries, form a fundamental part of the evidence base for Local Development Plans, including assessments for future housing need.

Welsh Government, National population projections: 2018-based revision note

Building safety White Paper update

The Welsh Government has published a position statement outlining its plans to introduce new measures to ensure the safety of high-rise buildings. It has stated that it intends to publish a White Paper for consultation by the end of this Assembly Term, which will recommend changes to the laws around housing, planning, building regulations and fire safety.
As part of the plans, the Welsh Government has said that it will consult on the details of making Fire and Rescue Authorities statutory consultees on certain planning applications, through amendments to the Town and Country Panning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012.
The statement says that issues relating to fire safety, such as access for emergency vehicles and access to adequate water supplies will be agreed by the relevant Fire and Rescue Authority with the local authority prior to the determination of planning applications.

Welsh Government, Building Safety Position Statement



The Lichfields perspective

The Public Accounts Committee has made eight recommendations for the planning system with only very limited input from the private sector and developers. Before the Welsh Government takes any decisions on these recommendations it will be vital to properly engage with these stakeholders to fully understand the economic implications of these recommendations on all sectors, but particularly those most affected.

Helen Ashby-Ridgway, Associate Director



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