Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Third party appeals ruled out

Everyone is well aware that third party rights of appeal do not feature in the Localism Bill, but that did not necessarily preclude their introduction at a later date. However, in answer to a question in the Commons yesterday, the Planning Minister, Bob Neill, said that the coalition government has dropped the idea. The government intends to rely instead on ‘localism’, the idea behind the current Bill which is intended to give communities greater control over what is considered to be appropriate development for their areas at the very beginning, through the neighbourhood planning system which the Bill introduces.

Neill said that both coalition parties thought that a third party right of appeal was well worth looking at, and they did so carefully; it was not lightly dismissed. The system that the previous Government left in place resulted in people feeling aggrieved, he said. The government has concluded, however, that the best means of reducing that grievance is not through the third party right of appeal, but by front-loading the system and giving residents and communities what the government claims will be far greater control over development at the beginning, which (they say) will be swifter and more cost effective. [Pause for hollow laughter.]

This does not necessarily rule out the introduction at some future date of the other changes to the appeals system which were canvassed in the Tories’ pre-election ‘Green Paper’ (“Open Source Planning”), but it does perhaps make those changes less likely.


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