This is entry number 296, published on 16 November 2011, of a blog on the Planning Act 2008 infrastructure planning and authorisation regime. Click here for a link to the whole blog.

Today's entry reports on the enactment of the Localism Bill.

As predicted in an earlier blog entry, Her Majesty the Queen signed the Localism Act 2011 into law yesterday, her 20th Act of Parliament for 2011 (quite a low number for the time of year).  We should now expunge the phrase 'Localism Bill' from our vocabularies and start talking about sections rather than clauses.  A PDF of the whole Act (now in a single 483-page volume) can be found here.

Although the majority of the Act comes into force on a day of the government's choosing (expected to be 6 April 2012), some sections came into force yesterday, and one comes into force today.  Another tranche comes into force on 15 January 2012. The most important section that came fully into force yesterday is the duty on local authorities to co-operate on the planning of sustainable development (s.110).  Those in the middle of preparing their development plans will now have to consider whether they should ring up their neighbours.

The flip side of that is that Eric Pickles is now entitled to lay an order revoking one or more regional strategies.  He won't, though, because he is consulting on the environmental effects of doing so until 20 January 2012.  Meanwhile, CALA Homes is launching yet another legal challenge to Pickles' decision to refuse permission for its housing scheme in Winchester.

The complete list of sections that came fully into force yesterday is as follows:

  • section 23 (Changes to local authority governance in England: transitional provision etc)
  • section 37 (standards - transitional provision)
  • section 86 (community right to challenge - provision of advice and assistance)
  • sections 103 and 104 (advice and assistance in relation to land of community value in England and Wales)
  • section 110 (duty to co-operate in relation to planning of sustainable development)
  • sections 117 to 120 (charges, collection, enforcement, financial assistance for neighbourhood planning)
  • section 144 (application of Part 6 (Planning) to the Crown)
  • sections 168 to 175 (provisions relating to abolition of Housing Revenue Account, but not the abolition itself)
  • sections 234 (pre-commencement consultation), 235 (orders and regulations) and 236 (power to make further consequential amendments)
  • sections 238 (financial provisions), 239 (extent), 240 (commencement) and 241 (short title)

Sections where only order-making powers came into force are:

  • Chapter 2 of Part 5 (community right to challenge),
  • Chapter 3 of Part 5 (assets of community value),
  • sections 116 (neighbourhood planning) and 121 (consequential amendments) and Schedules 9 to 12
  • section 233 (tax) and Schedule 24.

Other sections that partly came into force are:

  • paragraphs 57 and 58 of Schedule 4, and part of section 26 (amendments of existing standards provisions),
  • part of section 109 (abolition of regional strategies) and part of Schedule 8,
  • the provisions inserted by section 122 (consultation before applying for planning permission), and
  • Part 15 of Schedule 25, and the corresponding part of section 237 (repeals and revocations).

The section that comes into force today is:

  • Section 114 (community infrastructure levy: approval of charging schedules)

Aficionados of the Planning Act regime will wish to learn that the provisions corresponding to the amendments to that regime have settled at ss.128-142 and Schedule 13.  The government is expected to announce how it will handle existing applications and pre-application consultation at the abolition date (and when exactly that is) shortly.