Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Localism Bill – an overview

A lot of attention has rightly focused on the changes which the Localism Bill will make to the planning system, but this is only one part of a very substantial piece of legislation which makes far reaching changes to local government and the way it operates. Nevertheless, in keeping with the brief I have set myself, I shall concentrate on those provisions in the Bill which deal with town and country planning, although I may take a look later at one or two other clauses which could have a peripheral effect on the operation of the planning system.

The section of the Bill primarily concerned with planning is Part 5. This comprises seven chapters, covering (1) Plans and strategies, (2) Community infrastructure levy, (3) Neighbourhood planning, (4) Consultation before applying for planning permission, (5) Enforcement, (6) Nationally significant infrastructure projects, and (7) Other planning matters. Important changes are also proposed in London, which has a section of the Bill to itself (Part 7), Chapter 2 of which provides for the setting up of Mayoral Development Corporations.

Part 5 of the Bill has to be read in conjunction with Schedules 8 to 13. These deal with (8) Consequential amendments flowing from the abolition of regional strategies, (9) Neighbourhood planning, (10) the process for making neighbourhood development orders, (11) Neighbourhood planning - community right to build orders, (12) Neighbourhood planning - consequential amendments, and (13) Infrastructure Planning Commission - transfer of functions to the Secretary of State.

The changes in London are supplemented by Schedules 20 to 23, comprising (20) Consequential amendments flowing from abolition of the London Development Agency, (21) Mayoral development corporations, (22) Consequential and other amendments related to Mayoral development corporations, and (23) minor and consequential amendments of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 in relation to the London Environment Strategy.

I propose to look at some of these provisions over the next few weeks.


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