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).

 Planning Appeals

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:

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).