Housing and Planning Act 2016

13th May 2016
By David Hall

The Housing and Planning Bill received the Royal Assent on the 12 May 2016. The publication of the new Act is now awaited, which will provide, and clarify, the detailed wording of the new legislation.

Boyer has contacted DCLG to seek a date for the publication of the Act, so that the final legal detail, contained therein, can be scrutinised. The advice was, that there is, currently, no scheduled date for this publication.  This is not unsurprising since the to-ing and fro-ing of the Bill between the Houses of Commons and Lords, resulted in change and counter change.

The details contained within the Act appear to have at least remained constant throughout the progression of the Bill, albeit that the detail may have altered.  These relate to the following headings:

  • Starter Homes
  • Neighbourhood Planning
  • Local Planning
  • Planning in Greater London
  • Permission in principle and local registers of land
  • Planning Permission
  • Nationally significant infrastructure projects
  • Urban development corporations
  • Compulsory Purchase

In the final hours of the Bills’ progress, the House of Lords agreed not to insist on its final proposed amendment to the Bill, which would have given councils the final say on the provision of starter homes and additionally introduced a neighbourhood right to appeal against certain planning decisions.

The Housing and Planning Act will immediately allow regulations to be introduced in relation to the provision of pilot schemes testing the use of alternative providers to process planning applications; setting timescales for neighbourhood planning decisions; and requiring councils to keep registers of certain types of land.

The parts of the Act introducing ‘permission in principle’ for housing-led developments will, it is understood, take effect two months after the Royal Assent.

Most of the other provisions, including those relating to starter homes, will come into force on dates to be specified by the Communities Secretary in future regulations. It is understood that a number of regulations are likely to be made in October 2016.

Also of relevance is a connection of the Act with the Court of Appeal decision on the matter of affordable housing Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - and -(1) West Berkshire District Council  (2) Reading Borough Council  [2016] EWCA Civ 441. The Act will allow the Secretary of State to address such issues of “guidance” through legislation.

What is a certainty is that until the publication of the Housing and Planning Act, there is no certainty as to the detail and the full implications of the new planning provisions.  

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