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Planning and environment

Housing policy – NPPF

The Supreme Court has clarified a long-running (and semantic) debate about how to interpret the National Planning Policy Framework. In particular, the Supreme Court has emphasised that the NPPF should not be given the same level of legal analysis as an Act, and must not be interpreted as such (‘it is to express general principles on which decision-makers are to proceed in pursuit of sustainable development’). Its guidance is therefore a ‘material consideration’ but it does not displace the primacy of the statutory development plan.

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Section 106 – ResPark?

The CA has held that a s106 planning agreement cannot include a provision that the new residences will not be entitled to a residents parking permit. Such ResPark-free agreements have been fairly common in the past. However, the CA’s view is that a s106 agreement must relate to the specific ‘land’ that is the subject matter of the planning permission. Since a ResPark provision relates to the use of the road (not the land) it cannot be included in a s106 agreement.

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Pubs – neighbourhood planning

The role of pubs in the local community is recognised by a change in the planning laws which removes ‘permitted development rights’ for pubs and other Class A4 drinking establishments. Previously, a change of use was possible without planning permission because ‘permitted development’ applied and so there was no need for planning permission. But, such permitted development rights are removed for a change of use to A1 (shops), A2 (financial and professional), and A3 (restaurants and cafes). In addition, the demolition of A4 buildings now requires consent.

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Planning – painting?

A householder in an affluent part of London painted her house with red and white vertical stripes. The council took objection and served a notice under s215 TCPA 1990 (arguing that the condition of the building ‘adversely affected’ the ‘amenity’ of the area).

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Environmental impact – new Regs

New Environmental Impact Assessment Regs came into force on 16 May 2017. These make significant changes to the EIA regime (in particular, screening opinions will become mandatory).

 

Brownfield – permission in principle

’Permission in principle’ is similar to an outline planning permission in that it establishes the principle of development. PiP will apply to land that is allocated for housing-led development in a ‘qualifying document’ (which includes a Brownfield register compiled by an LPA, a development plan, and neighbourhood plan).

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Temporary possession – new Act

The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 includes new powers of ‘temporary possession’.

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Planning – reasons

Until 2013 there was a statutory duty to give summary reasons for all planning decisions. However, that requirement was removed for planning approvals in June 2013, and the only current statutory obligation is to give reasons where there is a refusal (although if there is an approval subject to conditions, then reasons must be given explaining why the conditions have been imposed).

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Residential – basements

The government is currently consulting on planning laws as they apply to basement developments. However, it is arguable that government intervention is no longer required.

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Service – ‘relevant place’

A trainee had to deliver a time-critical document to Clyde & Co, who occupy the 10th-13th floors of an office block (and have their reception desk on the 13th floor). The trainee left it with a messenger in the ground floor reception (not Clyde & Co’s reception), who purportedly signed on behalf of Clyde & Co. Needless to say, this was not a valid service.

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