2018: What to expect for town planning in West London

Changes to town planning fees in 2018

As we start 2018, many changes are expected for planning including changes to fees, funding and proposals for planning system improvement (as always).

Concerning fees, the regulations approved by the House of Lords’ grand committee in December will come into effect this month. Summarising the changes:

-20 per cent planning application fee increase

-fees for planning permissions in principle

-new fees for applications necessary because a permitted development right has been removed

-new fees for prior approval for a range of new permitted development rights 

This will impact all the Boroughs WEA serve including but not exclusive to:

Housing delivery in the United Kingdom under the Conservatives

In the government’s effort to speed up housing delivery (now seen as a reason for younger voters to no longer vote Conservative), developers will be allowed to submit applications to local authorities for permission in principle. Later this year, on June 1, the measures to allow the direct application route will finally come into effect.

Another important issue is the target for increasing the United Kingdom housing stock by 300,000 per year by the mid-2020s and the funding needed for to achieve this. The announcements are summarised below:

-£25 million for Planning Delivery Fund to provide planning and design support for councils in areas of high housing need.

-£5 billion (for England) for Housing Infrastructure Fund aiming to unlock 100,000 new homes by paying for infrastructure.

-£1,285 million (for the UK) for Land Assembly Fund to enable HCA to work alongside private developers to develop strategic sites

-£750 million (for the UK) for Small Sites Fund to be used for remediation and infrastructure to accelerate the building of homes on small sites.

-£1.78 billion (for the UK) for Home Building Fund to be used to provide loans at smaller businesses who need to build.

-£400 million (for England) for Estate Regeneration Fund to be used to transform rundown areas and provide new homes in high demand areas which may increase the demand for the external consultants for the schemes. 

How this will impact town planning in London remains to be seen. For a more detailed oversight of the London Boroughs WEA Planning serves, please visit the London Boroughs page. 

Brexit impact on construction

Despite all these announcements, the construction industry slowed last month for the first time since September and, according to The Times, the uncertainty over Brexit and the future trading relationship between Britain and European Union was blamed for this slowdown. Apart from Brexit, another crucial problem of the planning system is the slow progress in updating local plans, as according to Savills, only 46 per cent of local authorities in England have a post-NPPF adopted local plan in place.

In this context, the government hopes another raft of reports and proposals are expected not only to improve the wider planning system but to address specific issues. First, an interim report for Governments’ Spring statement in 2018 is expected to explain the significant gap between housings completions and the amount of land allocated. Ways to improve the planning system are also expected to be identified after Nick Raynsford’s review for the Town and Country Planning Association while a revised version of the NPPF is expected for consultation in spring with a final version in the summer.

Finally, alterations are also expected on more specific issues such as the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). As plans repurpose the existing CIL to raise funds for the Crossrail 2 project the consultation process is expected in Spring. At the same time, the government’s green paper on social housing and amendment to the GPDO to give deemed permission to the demolition of existing commercial buildings (subject to specific criteria). 

Authored by Michaela Kekeri


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