Whilst the general election purdah has temporarily halted planning announcements, resulting in delays with planning appeal decisions and Local Plans, there have been a number of changes during the past 3 months.

News and updates are set out in our quarterly update below:

National Planning

Following the General Election the following proposed Policy changes are likely to take place:

  • Housing delivery test results 2019
  • Accelerated Planning White Paper
  • Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission report
  • Environment Bill

The National Design Guide was issued in October and forms part of the government’s collection of Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). The National Model Design Code is expected to be subject to consultation in early 2020.

Further updates to National Planning Guidance have been published including:

  • Light pollution,
  • Community infrastructure levy,
  • Healthy and safe communities,
  • Hazardous substances
  • Securing developer contributions for education
  • Air Quality

Local Plan Update

Central Bedfordshire Local Plan

CBC have received letters from the Inspectors following the Examination Hearings which indicate the areas of concern where more work is needed to make the plan sound – the CBC Examination page is kept updated with the latest information.

Bedford Borough Local Plan

The Local Plan 2030 Examination Hearings are completed and Proposed Modifications are with the Inspectors whose final report is expected following the General Election – click here for more information.

Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP)

The consultation on the proposed Main Modifications to the VALP runs from 5 November to 5.15pm on the 17 December 2019. Please click here for further information.

Cambridge Local Plan and South Cambridgeshire Local Plan

The consultation on the Issues and Options for the Greater Cambridge Joint Local Plan is currently anticipated to commence in early January 2020. This will be an opportunity for everyone who is interested in the Greater Cambridge area to have their say in shaping the future of this area. More details can be viewed here.

Information updates on other Strategic Plans in Cambridgeshire can be found on our website: Planning in Cambridgeshire

South Kesteven Local Plan up to 2036

The South Kesteven Local Plan Examination Hearings took place in May 2019 and the Inspectors post hearing letter was received in June – this can be viewed here. Consultation on Main Modifications is expected in due course.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council Joint Local Plan

The consultation for the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Local Plan – Preferred Options; Consultation Document (Reg 18) closed in September 2019. Consultation responses will be considered and preparation of the Draft Joint Local Plan Consultation (Reg 19) for further updates click here.

Uttlesford New Local Plan

The stage 1 hearings concluded on Thursday 18 July 2019. The Inspectors’ letter following the hearing sessions is not expected until after 12 December – the Examination page is kept updated with the latest information.

Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan

Stage 6 Hearing Sessions will be held during December 2019. The Council is also expected to publish results from the recent Call for Sites – for more information click here.

St Albans Local Plan

The Council have submitted the Local Plan for Examination. The hearings will take place in two Stages, opening on Tuesday 21 January 2020. Stage 1 will consist of three weeks of hearings which will be held during January and February 2020 – the Examination page is kept updated with the latest information.

East Northamptonshire

The East Northamptonshire District-wide Local Plan Part 2 is in progress and expected to be on consultation in the next few months – for more information click here.

Northampton Local Plan

The Northampton Local Plan (Part 2) consultation was undertaken between 1 May and 14 June 2019. More information can be found here.

Information updates on other Strategic Plans in Northamptonshire and the forthcoming local government reorganisation can be found on our website: Planning in Northamptonshire

National Infrastructure Projects

The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme progresses and the 12-mile Huntingdon Southern bypass will open to traffic on Monday 9 December. The remainder of the project is expected to be fully opened by December 2020. Further information can be found on the Highways England website.

The proposed Northampton Strategic Rail Freight Interchange was approved in October 2019. The Northampton Gateway scheme proposes a new terminal, warehousing and parking for heavy goods vehicles on a 290 hectare site next to junction 15 of the M1 motorway. The decision can be viewed here.

The public consultations are currently unable to commence for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway due to the pre-election period. Further update on the timeline for the project’s ongoing development will be published next year. Further information can be found on the Highways England website.

The Public Inquiry to consider the Transport & Works Act (TWA) Application for the works to reopen the western section of the East-West Rail Link between Bicester and Bletchley closed in April 2019. The Inspector indicated that his report would be produced by the end of June and submitted to the Department for Transport TWAO Unit by mid-July.  The decision from the Secretary of State is awaited. For further information click here.

The consultation on the preferred route for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet Road has been completed and an updated design is in preparation. This will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for planning consent next year. Further details are available on the Highways England website.

The Lower Thames Crossing team are currently undertaking ground investigations and surveys in view of submitting a planning application (Development Consent Order application) in summer 2020. For more information visit the Highways England website.

In March 2019, the major work to lay the dual carriageway for the improved A421 from Eagle Farm roundabout, Milton Keynes to Junction 13, M1 was commenced. The improved A421 road is likely to be ready by the end of 2020. Updates can be viewed here.

On 11 September 2019 Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee resolved to approve the planning application for the M1-A6 Link Road, subject to planning conditions. The Council has received formal confirmation from the SoS that the application should be determined by the local planning authority. The Council is still working with Highways England (HE) to resolve a holding direction. Subject to planning permission and funding, construction will commence in 2020. It is estimated that construction will take two years. Further information can be found on the CBC website.

An application for expansion of London Luton Airport is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in mid 2020. Further information can be found on here. In the meantime, the Luton DART construction is progressing and is expected to open in 2021, offering 4 minutes transit time from Luton Airport Parkway Station to the Airport terminal.

Recent Appeal Decisions

An Outline application for up to 32 dwellings at Former Readshill Quarry, Clophill was dismissed (20 September 2019).

An Outline application for up to 95 dwellings at Land west of Church Street, Langford was allowed (07 October 2019)

An outline application for up to 250 dwellings at Deep Spinney, Biddenham was allowed (14 October 2019)

An Outline application for up to 42 dwellings at Sandy Road, Potton was dismissed (15 October 2019).

An Outline application for up to 73 units at Park Farm, Westoning was dismissed (21 October 2019)

An Outline application for 14 dwellings at Clophill Road, Maulden was allowed (30 October 2019) and a Costs Award made against the Council.

A number of further appeals are pending:

  • Redetermined appeal at Langford Road, Henlow (Inquiry – Sept 2019 – decision awaited)
  • Sunderland Road, Sandy (Inquiry – Oct 2019 – decision awaited)
  • Broad Street Clifton (Hearing – Oct 2019 – decision awaited)
  • Bower Lane, Eaton Bray (Hearing – Feb 2020)
  • Greenfield Road, Flitton (Hearing – date awaited)
  • Langford Road, Langford (Inquiry – date awaited)

Recent Planning Caselaw Updates

The recent decision of the High Court in Wavendon Properties Ltd v Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government and another [2019] EWHC 1524 (Admin) has clarified that decision makers must establish which are the most important policies for determining and decision and one policy out of date does not necessarily invoke the “tilted balance”.

In Monkhill Ltd v SSHCLG [2019] EWHC 1993 (Admin) the Planning Court interpreted the meaning of a “clear reason for refusal” policy in NPPF para. 11(d)(i)

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