There are a wide range of new laws and amendments coming into force on 1 October. We have highlighted just some of these changes below, with links to the relevant legislation.
New Planning Fees
- From 1 October, planning application fees are to be refunded to the applicant if their application is not determined within 26 weeks (unless a longer time period for determination has been agreed with the applicant).
- A fee of £80 is to be charged for applications for prior approval of permitted development under Schedule 2 of the GPDO 1995 where there is a material change of use and where the applicant is not submitting an application for planning permission at the same time. (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits Amendment Regulations).
Designation of Underperforming Local Authorities
- s.62B TCPA 1990 (inserted by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013) provides that a local planning authority will be 'designated' if it is considered to be underperforming. The criteria for designation is set out in a document published by the Secretary of State and assesses the performance of LPAs on the basis of the speed with which they deal with applications for major development and the extent to which such decisions are overturned at appeal. From 1 October, under s.62A TCPA 1990, certain planning applications can be made directly to the Secretary of State where the LPA has been designated. There will be no difference in the fees for such an application, except that they are to be paid directly to the Secretary of State. (Section 62A Procedure and Consequential Amendments Order; Section 62A Hearings Rules; Section 62A Written Representations Regulations).
The government is introducing a raft of reforms to the planning appeal procedure with the intention of increasing transparency and speeding up the appeal process. These reforms mean more frontloading of the work and will require applicants to do more prior to submitting their appeal. The reforms include the following:
- For most appeals under s.78 TCPA 1990, against decisions made on or after 1 October, appeal forms will have to be accompanied by a full statement of case, a statement as to preferred procedure for the appeal and, where relevant, a statement of common ground. Similar requirements will apply for listed building and conservation area appeals. Time limits will also be changing to speed up the process, with inquiries determined by inspectors to be heard 4 weeks sooner and hearings 2 weeks sooner where practicable. (DMPO Amendment Order; Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Amendment Regulations; Hearings and Inquiries Procedure Amendment Rules; Appeals Written Representations Procedure and Advertisements Amendment Regulations).
- Another change is that the Secretary of State is to have increased powers to award costs at planning appeals and to recover its own costs including where a scheduled inquiry or hearing does not go ahead (s.2, GIA 2013).
Conservation Areas and Demolition
- From 1 October, the demolition of unlisted buildings in conservation areas which previously required conservation area consent will now only require planning permission and not conservation area consent. There will be no fee for such applications. Planning permission will not be required for the demolition of ecclesiastical buildings being used for ecclesiastical purposes, buildings included in the schedule of monuments compiled under s.1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 or any other buildings specified in directions given by the Secretary of State, such as those listed in para 31 of Circular 01/01 (Para 6, Sch 17, ERRA 2013).