Queen’s speech: planning changes

“The main elements of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill are to be:

Neighbourhood Planning: the Bill will “further strengthen neighbourhood planning and give even more power to local people”; it will also strengthen neighbourhood planning by making the local government duty to support groups more transparent and by improving the process for reviewing and updating plans.

Planning Conditions: the Bill will ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions are only imposed by local planning authorities where they are absolutely necessary –

“excessive pre-commencement planning conditions can slow down or stop the construction of homes after they have been given planning permission”; the legislation will “tackle the overuse, and in some cases, misuse of certain planning conditions, and thereby ensure that development, including new housing, can get underway without unnecessary delay”.

Compulsory Purchase: the legislation will make the compulsory purchase order process “clearer, fairer and faster” for all those involved; there will be reform of the context within which compensation is negotiated; the Government’s proposals, on which it has already consulted, would consolidate and clarify more than 100 years of conflicting statute and case law; “we would establish a clear, new statutory framework for agreeing compensation, based on the fundamental principle that compensation should be based on the market value of the land in the absence of the scheme underlying the compulsory purchase”.

National Infrastructure Commission: the Bill will establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis; the Commission is to provide the Government with expert, independent advice on infrastructure issues “by setting out a clear, strategic vision on the future infrastructure that is needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050”; measures will “unlock economic potential across the UK and ensure that growth and opportunities are distributed across the country, boosting productivity and competitiveness through high-quality infrastructure”.

Land Registry: The new legislation will enable the privatisation of Land Registry, which will “support the delivery of a modern, digitally-based land registration service that will benefit the Land Registry’s customers, such as people buying or selling their home”; it could also return a capital receipt to the Exchequer to help reduce national debt.”