The Minister for Decentralisation gave a speech yesterday, trailing the contents of the Localism Bill. I think it puts some interesting flesh on the bones. First the Government sees the planning system's function as facilitating sustainable development in a manner which empowers local authorities. National planning policy will be more accessible, clearer and crisper. So far so familiar. But there was some clarification on neighbourhood plans - will not override the local plan, local authorities will be under a duty to cooperate with each other, and both New Homes Bonus and CIL are intended to benefit local authorities.
The duty to cooperate could be very helpful to developer who find highway and planning authorities with different approaches. The local benefits issue is going to have to be handled carefully - I didn't think planning permissions could be bought and sold.
The Bill is likely to see the light of day on 25/26 November (another source gave me that, not the Minister). But he did seem to say that the changes to the appeal rules suggested in Open Source will come to pass.
I'm pleased on CIL to say that DCLG confirms it is taking on board some of the criticisms made by the Law Society's Planning & Environmental Law Committee which I chair. We're hoping to meet them again soon.