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E-bulletin May 2018

Date: 22/6/2018

E-bulletin May 2018

Breaking News ...

... MHCLG has said that it has received a significant number of responses to the draft revisions to the NPPF.  MHCLG officials are currently reviewing these and have indicated that the revised NPPF is still on track to be published before the Parliamentary Summer Recess which starts on 20 July.  The Society's response to the proposed revisions and associated consultation documents can be reviewed here

Meanwhile the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils across England and Wales, has called for the Government to scrap the planned changes to the NPPF which it says 'will impose often "undeliverable" housebuilding targets on local areas and penalise councils and communities left powerless to ensure they are met'.  The LGA's response to the proposed revisions to the NPPF consultation can be viewed here.

In the meantime a consortium of developers and business groups, including the Home Builders Federation and the 'Housing the Powerhouse' pressure group, has sent a letter to Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry warning that the new standard housing need methodology could undermine efforts to rebalance the economy through the Northern Powerhouse.

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Society Matters

President's Piece - Steve Ingram's latest blog was sent out separately on 29 May >> if you missed it you can read it here

Members - the warmest of welcomes go out to the 19 newest members of the Society: Kwan Wa Luk and John Harrison (Harlow DC), Alex Sanders, Caroline Smith and David Maxwell (Surrey CC), James Freeman, Gill Harris, Andrew Jeffers, Simon Algar and Sara Potter (Swale BC), Tony Whitty (Chichester DC), Christopher Johnson (Gateshead MBC), Stephanie Buller (Aylesbury Vale DC), Sean Tofts (Colchester DC), Phil Twamley (East Devon DC), Oliver Norman (LB Waltham Forest), Antara Kumar (Bracknell Forest BC), Alison Richards and Steve Buffery (Derbyshire CC).

In the News: As we are in the process of moving to a new website there is currently only limited updating being undertaken to the existing website.  This means that a number of news items that we have responded to will be uploaded at a later date.  In the meantime, we continue to respond to press enquiries and in the past month or so have commented on the following:

The publication of the Town and Country Planning Association's 'Raynsford Review of Planning in England' Interim Report (24 May).  The Interim report and associated documents can be viewed here.

The publication of legislation to enable several local authority mergers and what this may mean for planning. (17 May)

Responding to the government's latest data indicating worsening affordability levels across many local authority areas, which will feed into the forthcoming standard method for assessing housing need. (10 May)

What the revised deliverability definition set out in the proposed revisions to the NPPF means for councils and developers. (10 May)

Why phone kiosk applications are hitting epic levels and the effects on resources (3 May)

Why the West of England Joint Spatial Plan could point the way for a new generation of strategic plans (26 April)

How Labour's housing proposals could impact on councils and developers (26 April).  The Labour Party's green paper 'Housing for the Many' can be viewed here.

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Spatial Planning Latest

The Office of National Statistics published the 2016 based Sub National Population Projections on 24 May.  The provisional release date for the 2016 based Household Projections is September 2018.  The Population Projections can be viewed here

A joint written Ministerial statement by James Brokenshire (MHCLG) and Greg Clark (BEIS) has reiterated the Government's view that '...there are potentially substantial benefits from the safe and sustainable exploration and development of our onshore shale gas resources'.  The statement sets out the Government's expectations of Mineral Planning authorities including that they should give 'great weight to the benefits of mineral extraction, including to the economy. This includes shale gas exploration and extraction'. In addition 'applications must be assessed on a site by site basis and having regard to their context. Plans should not set restrictions or thresholds across their plan area that limit shale development without proper justification'. The revised NPPF (once published) will sit alongside the Written Ministerial Statement, and Government intends to publish revised planning practice guidance on shale development once the revised NPPF has been launched The full written statement can be viewed here.

The Government has published its consultation on its draft Clean Air Strategy 2018 which includes consideration of the effects of air quality on human health and the natural environment.  Government has indicated that it will publish updated appraisal tools and accompanying guidance this summer to enable the health impacts of air pollution to be considered in every relevant policy decision that is made, and later this year it will provide guidance for local authorities explaining how cumulative impacts of nitrogen deposition on natural habitats should be mitigated and assessed through the planning system.  The consultation runs until the 14 August.  The consultation document can be viewed here.

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Development Management Latest

Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No. 5) Regulations 2018 and the Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018

The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No 5) Regulations triggering parts of Section 14 of the Act in relation to pre-commencement conditions were signed off by housing minister Dominic Raab on 3 May and are due to come into force on 1 October (the Regulations can be viewed here). Separate regulations due to come into effect on the same date will allow councils to propose terms for pre-commencement conditions, giving applicants a ten working day deadline to respond. The Town and Country Planning (Pre-commencement Conditions) Regulations 2018 empower councils to notify applicants of the text of any proposed pre-commencement condition. They would need to set out their reasons for imposing it "clearly and precisely", including why they think it should be imposed in pre-commencement form.  The provisions made in these Regulations apply only to conditions on a grant or modification of planning permission granted or modified after the coming into force of these Regulations. The Regulations can be viewed here.

Consultation on powers for dealing with unauthorised development and encampments was published on 5 April and will close on 15 June.  The consultation can be viewed here

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Brief Updates

The Government's Chief Planning Officer has published a letter regarding the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) as they relate to local planning authorities. To further assist local planning authorities ensure their processes are robust, the Planning Advisory Service, in consultation with the Information Commissioner's Office, is leading a cross sector group preparing guidance on the processing of personal data in relation to planning applications.  The letter can be viewed here

James Brokenshire, the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup. has replaced Sajid Javid as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, following Javid's move to the Home Office.

Nominations for the Hertfordshire Building Futures Awards, which showcase and celebrate exemplar sustainable developments across Hertfordshire, are open until 6 July for projects completed between 17th September 2015 and 27th April 2018.  Information about the Awards can be viewed here.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) are holding a conference on 'Planning Today for a Secure Tomorrow' at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester on 10th July.  More information about the event can be viewed here and Access Code DEL-135790, has been provided for the exclusive use of POS members to reserve a ticket. Please note tickets must be ordered one at a time.

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Forthcoming POS Events

Minerals and Waste Network 8 June, Manchester City Council

President's Spring Conference and AGM 14 and 15 June, Stamford.

Joint London, East and South East Regions 13 July, Ebbsfleet

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And Finally ...

.... Kevin McCloud of 'Grand Designs' fame, stood up for planners when speaking at the Hay Festival recently.  McCloud saw planners as playing a big role in creating quality environments and said that "Apart from train drivers, they are one of the most responsible jobs in the world. They are hugely important and yet we don't value them. They've had seven years of training and they are so underpaid and poorly respected. We all want to give them a hard time."

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