The Government has commenced consultation on revisions to the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004. These Regulations deal with the process for the preparation of local plans.
The background to the consultation is threefold. The Government has decided to: (i) update the 2004 Local Development Regulations in response to the proposed reforms in the Localism Bill; (ii) take the opportunity to consolidate the changes since 2004 into a single document; whilst (iii) revising the remaining regulations in order to ensure that they are as effective and as simple as possible. A summary of the proposed amendments is as follows.
- The public bodies to whom the Bill's proposed ‘duty to co-operate’ applies are listed, and there is a requirement on such bodies to take account of the views of local enterprise partnerships.
- There is a new, "simple definition of development plan documents, without referring to complex ‘local development framework’ terminology such as ‘core strategy’ or ‘area action plan’, which made the process confusing for the public and business, and inflexible for councils." The purpose seems to be to allow councils to review policy more quickly.
- The current regulations on local development schemes are removed, "giving councils the freedom to report the information that they think most relevant to local people, while maintaining the requirement to keep the public informed about the status of planning documents, as set out in the Bill."
- The rules on the preparation of supplementary planning documents are streamlined.
- The Secretary of State’s powers for intervention are streamlined and, in relation to areas outside London, the requirement to ensure compliance with regional strategies is removed, for obvious reasons. The proposed regulations also remove the detailed prescription for public participation in the preparation of the statement of community involvement.
- There will no longer be a requirement to prepare a monitoring report for the Secretary of State. Instead councils will be required to report to local people on "key issues to be determined locally, as set out in the Bill." New regulations will prescribe information to be included in monitoring reports, including net additional affordable housing, CIL receipts, the number of neighbourhood plans that have been adopted, and action taken under the duty to co-operate.
The consultation runs until 7 October.