NPPF and National Development Management Policies Consultation

Levelling-Up Regeneration Bill attains Royal Assent

The government announced that LURA 2023 will “speed up the planning system, hold developers to account, cut bureaucracy, and encourage more councils to put in place plans to enable the building of new homes”.

NPPF and National Development Management Policies Consultation
Decoration Decoration

The Levelling-Up Regeneration Bill (LURB) received Royal Assent Thursday 26 October 2023, and is now officially the Levelling Up Regeneration Act (LURA).

Bell Cornwell News
Author Andy Boothby
Decoration Decoration

Below is a summary of the key planning-related changes that will apply in England, albeit the date some of these will take effect is currently unknown; pending secondary legislation and updates to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which will need to be published first.

  • Giving local planning authorities the power to refuse planning applications where the developer has a history of not implementing or delivering development slowly. Designed to encourage build out rates and help track housing delivery.

To help achieve this, the Act proposes the introduction of commencement and completion notices, and conditions requiring development progress reports. Unfortunately, this will add an additional layer of bureaucracy to the development process.

  • A streamlined 30 month plan-making system.

This will include abolishing the duty to cooperate with other local planning authorities on strategic planning matters and replacing it with an, as yet undefinied, alignment test. This should be a positive move in terms of timeframes, but could also result in more fragmented and less coordinated development across regions.

  • Increasing the enforcement period for all breaches of planning control to ten years.

In cases involving an unauthorised residential dwelling this has historically been 4 years, so a big change in this respect. This has potentially significant implications for developments on the brink of establishing lawfulness and may require swift action to be taken to clarify the position.

  • The introduction of a new Infrastructure Levy.

This will replace Section 106 planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) at a local level and incorporate affordable housing contributions. Whether this will create any greater transparency or certainty, as was originally promised by the flawed CIL system, remains to be seen.

  • A new power to amend planning permissions through ‘section 73B’

This will now allow for changes to the description of a development, provided the effect is not substantially different to the existing permission. This should be a positive move, making it easier to regularise the inevitable changes to developments as they evolve.

  • A suite of National Development Management Policies (NDMPs)

These will cover planning considerations that apply regularly in decision-making across England, such as conserving heritage assets and controlling inappropriate development in the Green Belt. It will take away the need for local authorities to draft their own policies on generic national issues. Instead, they can focus their time and resources on locally specific matters.

  • Increasing planning application fees.

The government intends to increase planning fees for major and minor application by 35% and 25% respectively, subject to consultation.

The government intends to increase planning fees for major and minor application by 35% and 25% respectively, subject to consultation. This will be one to keep an eye on if you have planning applications close to submission. It may be worth pushing to make the submission prior to the increases being brought in.

The final text of LURA 2023 has yet to be published, and so we cannot provide more definitive advice at this stage.  When it is published, and the secondary legislation and changes to the NPPF are announced, we will provide a more thorough update on the implications and recommended action to take.


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