20 August 2014, As part of the Government’s ongoing reforms to the planning system, a new wide-ranging consultation is now underway on further changes to the system. The consultation document addresses matters relating to planning regulations and conditions, the application process, neighbourhood planning, environmental impact assessments and nationally significant infrastructure.
The consultation proposals include:
- The introduction of new permitted development rights including to allow conversion of light industrial (Use Class B1c), storage buildings (Use Class B8) and other ‘sui generis’ buildings (including launderettes, amusement arcades, casinos and nightclubs) to residential use, and for greater flexibility of uses on the high street including the reclassification of A1 and A2 Use Classes.
- Introducing a deemed discharge of planning conditions.
- Requiring planning authorities to provide written justification as to why pre-commencement conditions are not able to be dealt with after development has started.
- Simplifying the process of statutory consultees providing comments on applications - such as reducing the number of applications requiring input from English Heritage, Natural England and the Highways Agency.
- Imposing a time limit of 70 days on local authorities dealing with applications for neighbourhood area status.
- Increasing the screening threshold for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for development of residential properties in urban areas, to exclude schemes of below 150 dwellings.
The consultation is open until the 26th September 2014 and can be accessed by clicking here.