The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Planning reform and the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

UPDATE: Levelling-up and Regeneration Act gains Royal Assent

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act received Royal Assent on 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.



The purpose of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is to “drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas, and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success”, according to the Queen’s speech 2022.
This web resource is home to Lichfields' coverage of the Bill alongside our analysis, insights and thought leadership for the industry. It will be updated regularly as the Bill takes shape and the consultations on related regulations and policy emerge, in order to highlight the implications for planning procedures, and certain sectors and regions.





Latest on planning reform



The Government has proposed to change the nature of local plans, while also seeking to simplify the process of producing them. Development plans are expected to be given greater weight in the decision-making process, while generic national development management policies would form part of the development plan. This section looks at the future of plan-making – from the strategic to the neighbourhood level.


Development management

The proposed changes to legislation would lead to significant change to several aspects of the development management process, including heritage. These include a new route to vary planning permissions, increasing the weight given to development plans, monitoring build out rates and raising planning fees. The enforcement regime proposed would be more flexible for authorities, with longer time frames for enforcement action and greater opportunity to offer enforcement relief.


Infrastructure Levy

The Bill proposes to reform of developer contributions through the introduction of the infrastructure levy. This would be a non-negotiable levy based on final development value and would include affordable housing contributions. Eventually all local planning authorities in England would have to charge it. This section provides an overview of what is known about the infrastructure levy and will be updated as more details emerge.


Town centres & regeneration

The bill proposes a number of measures addressing town centres and regeneration ranging from reforms to compulsory purchase orders to high street rental auctions. The Government intend that combined with wider non-legislative policy changes and funding, in sum these changes ‘raise people’s satisfaction with their town centre’ - one of the 12 levelling up missions.


Environmental outcomes and Biodiversity Net Gain


Beyond the bill

Beyond the legal changes proposed in the Bill, much of the Government’s levelling up agenda will be shaped by the policies and strategies set out in the White Paper, and the associated funding arrangements. The Government have been clear that in order to succeed in it’s 12 missions for levelling up, devolution will also need to be a significant part of the agenda. This section provides an overview of the levelling up agenda ‘beyond the bill’ and will be updated as more details emerge.


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