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Planning news - 2 May 2024

2 May Planning News header

Royal Town Planning Institute publish Planning Enforcement Handbook 

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has released the first edition of the Enforcement Handbook, a comprehensive guide for planning enforcement officers in England. 

The handbook emphasizes three key elements: forward-thinking plan-making, effective development management, and robust enforcement. It also highlights the growing role of enforcement in promoting high-quality design in planning and development projects, aligning with the Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s recommendations. 

Endorsed by RTPI President Ian Tant, the handbook provides guidance on various aspects of planning enforcement, advocating for proactive enforcement management through Local Enforcement Plans. It will serve as a vital resource for planning enforcement officers, aiding them in upholding planning laws, promoting high-quality development and preserving the integrity of the planning system in England. 

You can find the handbook here.1 

Government create hub to demystify Nationally Significant Infrastructure guidance

In light of the recent changes around consenting and approval processes for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), the Government have created a handy online hub where all of the relevant, updated documentation and guidance around NSIPs can be found. 

Legislative reform has come about following recent consultation, which sought to decide on the best ways of removing roadblocks to bringing about large-scale, high-impact infrastructure - for example wind and solar farms.  

As well as including all the new guidance, this content hub provides links to the ongoing NSIPs regulations, including when the legislation for each is due to be reviewed, as well as a list of the now outdated legislation, with a reference to the guidance this has been superseded by. 

Last week, we reported that the consenting process for Significant Infrastructure in Wales has been streamlined2, demonstrating that national governments are placing increased emphasis on largescale infrastructure, such as wind and solar farms, as a means of tackling climate concerns and meeting emissions targets.  

Visit the Government’s website to explore the content hub and view all the updated guidance around Nationally Significant Infrastructure.3 

Government to consult on practical application of LURA slow build-out measures, as well as on financial penalties

In their own words, the government want to see ‘homes built faster and to higher standards’.  

To that end, through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, they introduced provisions to encourage developers to build-out more quickly following the granting of planning permission, tackling the issue of ‘land banking’ and addressing concerns over delayed construction. 

One such measure gives Local Authorities greater power in serving ‘completion notices’, which require developers to complete projects promptly.  

Another sees the introduction of ‘development commencement notices’, which will mean developers must specify when they intend to begin on-site. Developers will then be obliged report annually on progress via ‘development progress reports’.  

The act also introduces powers for local planning authorities to ‘decline to determine applications made by developers who fail to build out at a reasonable rate where there have been earlier permissions granted on any land in the authority’s area.’ 

In a statement published on 25 April, they announced plans to consult on all four of these provisions, looking for feedback on how to practically implement them, before fully commencing.  

The statement goes on to say that the government also intend to consult separately on financial penalties around slow build out.   

You can read the government’s full statement here.4 

In related news, another government consultation on speeding up the planning and development process closed yesterday. 

Planning at the polls

Today sees the nation take to the polling booths to cast their vote in the local elections.  

With a national election looming at some point later this year, today’s election represents an opportunity for locals to make their voices heard on distinctly local matters, with planning concerns being an influential point for many voters.  

As the guardian commented in a recent article5, planning can often be a ‘hyper-local’ issue, with voters willing to make their views on local authority decisions about local developments heard on their ballot slips. 

Voting today 

The location of your polling station can be obtained from your local electoral registration office or from the poll card sent to voters. Polling stations will be open until 10pm today. 

Voters will be required to present a form of photographic ID, such as a driving license, passport or blue badge, to cast your vote at the polling station. 


Consultation on accelerating planning services closes

The government consultation to gather responses on a proposed new application route which would bring about faster decision-making processes in exchange for higher application fees, specifically for major commercial schemes, closed yesterday. 

The consultation also called for views on proposed changes around time extensions, including removing their use for householder applications and only allowing one extension for other developments., as well as for opinions on a proposed further role out of the ‘simplified’ appeals processes currently used for appeals on householder and minor commercial decisions. 

You can find full details of the consultation on the government’s website.6 


Planning Portal have submitted a response to this consultation, stating our support for:

  • 'a development management system that operates efficiently, without sacrificing quality.
  • applicants to be provided with decisions as soon as possible.
  • authorities to be properly resourced to deliver all their planning functions.'

Our response goes on to explain:

'We see significant potential in ‘premium’ services that can generate the revenue required to implement and operate them (for the authority directly, or from an alternate provider), and support the authority’s other planning functions (directly, or via that service being provided by another party, freeing up authority resources).

However, any such ‘premium’ service should not be at the expense of those that do not use it (by choice or though lack of means). Indeed, they should help support the provision of ‘standard’ services and consistent high quality of service delivery across the board.'

More in depth information on our response to this consultation will be published in due course.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) have also responded to the consultation, saying that they believe increased efficiency on planning decision timeframes can only be achieved as the result of holistic improvement to Local Planning Authority services.  

Drawing on research from the Planning Advisory Service, the RTPI go on to outline the improvements that they would like to see, which they believe would lead to swifter decision making. These include ringfencing of any additional fee income, to ensure that it is used to benefit planning departments, to allow for the ongoing sustainable management of services, as well as delegating decision making to chartered planners rather than committees.  

You can read the RTPI’s full consultation response here.7


Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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    Planning news - 2 May 2024

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.