“Let’s see what more announcements the coming week brings…” was my sign off to last week’s ‘Twas The Week Before Recess blog post.
After this week your holiday reading now includes:
A new NPPF and national model design code
The revised NPPF was published on 20 July 2021, along with the new national model design code and MHCLG’s NPPF & national model design code: response to consultation document, and the announcement of the creation of the Office for Place and its impressive Advisory Board , chaired by Nicholas Boys Smith. There was a Policy Exchange launch event at which the Secretary of State spoke and of course a press statement.
My Town colleague Victoria McKeegan has written a piece for Estates Gazette on the changes, Government parades beauty in revised NPPF (23 July 2021, subscription only).
Here is a comparison of the text as against the February 2019 version and here is a comparison as against the January 2021 proposed changes that I wrote about in my 30 January 2021 blog post Beautiful Day.
Various of us, including Victoria, will be discussing the documents in detail at our clubhouse Planning Law Unplanned session from 6pm on Tuesday 27 July 2021. Do join us, either to listen or to make your views known. A link is here.
The Judicial Review and Courts Bill
The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 21 July 2021. We covered the Government’s March 2021 consultation document on judicial review reform in a recent clubhouse Planning Law Unplanned event, with guest speakers including Celina Colquhoun (39 Essex Street, member of the Lord Faulks Committee which had previously carried out its Independent Review of Administrative Law) and Joshua Rozenberg. The Bill appears not to be as radical as the consultation document, the main proposal of interest being the potential for suspended, or non-retrospective, quashing orders. For more information see Richard Harwood QC’s 22 July 2021 blog post The rise of Incrementalism or Joshua Rozenberg’s 22 July 2021 blog post Fettering the courts’ discretion. The Ministry of Justice’s response to consultation document was published alongside the Bill.
The House of Commons HCLG Committee report on permitted development rights
The Committee’s report was published on 22 July 2021.
I recommend reading the report itself. But some extracts from the summary:
“Whilst we understand the intention behind the recent changes, we have concerns about their impact, including on local planning authorities (LPAs) and the critical role they play in place-making. The ability of LPAs to control permitted development is limited to certain prescribed matters, principally those set out in the prior approval process. We support the use of prior approval and other conditions to control the quality of permitted development, but we heard the regime had become so complicated it was now little different from the full planning system. Furthermore, the Government has not explained how its approach to PDR fits with its proposed reforms in the planning White Paper. In particular, the recent changes appear to contradict the increased focus in the White Paper on plan-led development and local democratic involvement.
For these reasons, we recommend the Government pause any further extensions of permitted development rights for change of use to residential, including the new class MA right, which is due to take effect on 1 August, and conduct a review of their role within the wider planning system. As part of that review, we recommend it set out its long-term vision for permitted development for change of use to residential and explain how it plans to retain the benefits of these PDRs whilst not also sacrificing the ability of LPAs to shape their communities.
We broadly welcome the new use class E, as we can see the advantages of greater flexibility, but we are concerned it allows out-of-town premises, such as office blocks, to convert to retail without having first gone through the sequential test.”
As mentioned above, the revised permitted development regime kicks in on 1 August, further minor permitted development changes have been introduced in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development etc.) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2021 (made 7 July 2021) and we still await judgment being handed down by the Court of Appeal in the Rights Community Action judicial review…
Happy summer reading and I hope you can join us on Tuesday evening.
Simon Ricketts, 23 July 2021
Personal views, et cetera