Published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Ministers confirmed this week that they are considering setting a five-year time limit on permissions in principle (PiPs).
This would be a matter for secondary legislation, peers learnt during further detailed consideration of the housing and planning bill.
This came during a marathon session of the legislation which kept peers up until half-past midnight on Tuesday night discussing the finer points of PiP and brownfield registers.
Government minister Baroness Williams of Trafford stressed that PiPs could not be granted retrospectively. She told the Upper Chamber: “Permission in principle, granted in allocation in locally prepared plans and registers, will apply only to those adopted once the permission in principle measure is fully in force.
“The government have no intention to apply the measure retrospectively to site allocations in existing local development plans. It will be possible to grant PiP only going forward, so existing plans and site allocations will not be affected”.
She insisted that decisions on PiPs would be a matter for local authorities, their communities and that the Secretary of State would have “no direct role in choosing specific sites to grant PiP to”.
The minister said there would be provision to modify or revoke a PiP, but only in “extreme circumstances”.
She also said that ministers would expect local authorities to make clear, when they give permission in principle “the matters they would expect to see covered in an application for technical details”.
She reiterated: “PiP will be granted only where the development is considered to be locally acceptable, in line with local and national policy”.
Peers were told that entering a site on a brownfield register “would not automatically grant permission in principle” according to another government minster Baroness Evans of Bowes Park.
Baroness Williams also told peers that the government’s plan to allow for planning fees to be set locally would not be subject to the hybrid procedure, rather the affirmative procedure: a much less time-consuming system.