Friday 13 May 2022

The New Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill

Read the minutes of our meeting on April 28th. This is especially important within the context of...

The recent Queen's Speech introduced a reform of the planning system (that was first proposed in the 2020 Planning for the Future white paper). The government received over 40,000 responses to that white paper (and reportedly responded to none of them). It did however, withdraw the white paper.

Well, now it's back. This time as an actual bill laid before parliament. Over the next few months the government will run a series of 'consultations' to flesh out the details.

Why is the government pushing this?

1. There is a housing crisis in the country (even Torbay Council recognises this).

2. The government has promised to build 300,000 houses a year during this parliament.

This is a hot potato. The Secretary of State responsible for housing has said that he will not be "bound by arbitrary targets"; thereby going back on an election pledge.

If you want bedtime reading, the bill is only 325 pages long and is available here: The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

For a government spin on the announcement, here is the Press Release.

The well-respected planning laywer that writes the #planoraks blog has interpreted the likely potential effect of the new Levelling up and Regeneration Bill:

"At its heart, for all the headlines on localism, street votes and neighbourhood planning, this bill contains a power grab by central government. You and I are still living in the dying days of the legal “presumption in favour of the development plan”. But those days are numbered. Where it seems we are heading it toward a legal presumption in favour of national policy (and only after that local plans to the extent they’re consistent with national policy). That may (let’s hope) lead to more consistency, to streamed-down more focussed plans, and so on to better decision-making. But don’t kid yourself: it’s a radically different approach to what we have now."

Read the article in full here:

The bottom-line is that the bill is a "radical change which may spell the end of the presumption in favour of the development plan". 

The Neighbourhood Plan is (along with the Torbay Local Plan) the "development plan".

The clear statements from the government is that national policies will take precedence over local development plans.

There were strong rumours that the strength of feeling among backbenchers regarding the standard methodology to set the 5-year land supply was having some effect. However, this proposed Bill appears to be silent on the matter.

If we feel this is going to be detrimental to our area please lobby our MP!


BCG NF Minutes 28_04_2022.pdf

Last Updated: Friday 13 May 2022