NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY NEWS
GOVERNMENT'S REACTION TO COVID 19
The Government has introduced temporary planning measures to assist with the challenges faced by COVID 19. These include the following;
Introduction of a time limited permitted development right allowing the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 – drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 restaurants/cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only.
A Written Ministerial Statement has instructed English planning authorities to avoid enforcing controls that unnecessarily restrict the time and number of lorry deliveries to retailers and distributors of food and other essential deliveries during the coronavirus disruption. This statement, which came into effect on 13th March, confirms that as a matter of urgency local planning authorities should take a positive approach to their engagement with food retailers and distributors, as well as the freight industry, to ensure planning controls are not a barrier to food delivery over the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus. Local planning authorities should also use their discretion on the enforcement of other planning conditions which hinder the effective response to COVID-19
The Government has promised the introduction of legislation to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period of time. The objective is to encourage planning committees to continue and decisions to be made. Local authorities are also encouraged, where possible, to issue delegated decisions to ensure planning applications are decided in the most expedient manner.
Planning Inspectorate Guidance:
In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has published guidance on how it will continue to carry out its duties under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Planning Act 2008. While some site visits, hearings, inquiries and events will have to be cancelled or postponed, PINS is considering alternative arrangements where possible.
PINS will keep its guidance under review, which could change at short notice to reflect the Government’s wider advice. The planning team at Ridge will be constantly reviewing the PINS website and will keep you up to date.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE – NEW POLICY STATEMENT
On 12 March the Secretary of State for HCLG released a policy statement entitled "Planning for the Future". The statement sets out a number of housing and planning reforms, including the intention to bring forward a bold and ambitious Planning White Paper this Spring. Within this statement, the following issues are addressed;
• Supporting communities to deliver more homes for local people
• Helping first time buyers onto the housing ladder
• Creating beautiful, sustainable places
• Ensuring affordable, safe and secure housing for all
• Laying the foundations for affordable, green and beautiful homes for everyone
A copy of the Policy Statement can be found here:
In addition to this statement, the HCLG also announced the following;
• Confirmation that the proposed freedom to build upwards will go ahead
• Confirmation that demolitions will be allowed under permitted development rights (PD) to deliver new housing
• Measure to reform planning fees, linking their level to local authority performance
• Measures to allow successful appellants against refusals of planning applications to their application fee refunded
• Measures to ensure extant planning permissions get built out
• Confirmation that the new ‘Fast Track for Beauty’ will be enshrined in the planning system.
We can assure you that Ridge will continue to keep you updated on any future policy releases.