As we move through 2020 Changes in Planning in the UK continue.

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

National Planning

Planning in the UK has undergone a number of changes in recent months. The government is also currently consulting on a proposed major overhaul of the planning system. Current changes include:

  • New permitted development rights introduced on 1 August 2020 to allow the creation of new homes and living space through upward extensions. More detail here
  • A new permitted development right came into force on 31 August 2020 to allow demolition and rebuilding of vacant and redundant free-standing commercial and light industrial premises, and residential blocks of flats, as new residential units. More information here
  • Amendments to the Use Classes order

The Planning for the Future White Paper consultation is open until 29 October 2020. It proposes reforms of the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process, bring a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure, and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed.

Alongside is the Changes to the Current Planning System consultation which closes on 1 October 2020.

Local Plan Update

Central Bedfordshire Local Plan

CBC ran a consultation on additional documents from June to August. The representations on the additional evidence will be sent to the Planning Inspectors holding the Examination and they will determine whether further Hearing Sessions are required – the CBC Examination page is kept updated with the latest information.

Bedford Borough Local Plan

Bedford Borough have now commenced a review of their local plan and the first issues and options consultation closed on 4 September 2020. – More details can be viewed here: Bedford Borough Local Plan Review 

Further updates on the Strategic Plans in Bedfordshire can be found on our website: Planning in Bedfordshire

Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP)

The consultation on the proposed Main Modifications to the VALP closed on the 17 December 2019. The council are now preparing a response to the representations for the Inspector. This has been delayed by the Covid-19 crisis. Please click here for further information.

Cherwell Local Plan

On 6 August 2020, the Council received the Inspector’s Final Report into the Examination of Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) Partial Review – Oxford’s Unmet Housing Need. The Inspector’s Report has concluded that the plan is sound and is available here 

Cambridge Local Plan and South Cambridgeshire Local Plan

Consultation on the Greater Cambridge Local Plan ran during January and February 2020. The responses will be published soon and a consultation draft Local Plan is expected to be published later in 2020. More details can be viewed here.

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

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council Joint Local Plan

The Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Local Plan Consultation (Reg 19) is now due to take place during Autumn 2020. For further updates click here.

Uttlesford New Local Plan

The Council have now withdrawn the Local Plan and started work on preparing a new plan for the district. This Council webpage provides the latest information.

Rutland Local Plan Review

The Regulation 19 Consultation Local Plan Public Consultation runs until Friday 9 October 2020.

Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan

The ongoing Examination Hearings have been completed. The Council are now hoping to receive the Inspectors Interim Report at the end of September/early October – more information can be found here.

St Albans Local Plan

The Inspectors conducting the Examination raised serious concerns in relation to the legal compliance and soundness of the submitted Local Plan. The full report can be viewed here. In response the Council had suggested dropping proposals for a 2,300-home garden village on a green belt site in an effort to revive the threatened local plan. However, the Inspectors are now awaiting the Councils decision on the two options available to them. The Plan can be withdrawn from examination or the Inspectors can write their report recommending that it not be adopted because of a failure to discharge the DtC. – the Examination page is kept updated with the latest information.

Hertsmere Local Plan

The publication of the new draft Local Plan for the borough is now expected in Spring 2021.

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

East Northamptonshire

East Northamptonshire are currently preparing a new District-wide Local Plan Part 2 – for more information click here.

Northampton Local Plan

The Northampton Local Plan (Part 2) is currently on consultation until 7 September 2020. 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

Highways England have paused development of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway scheme while they undertake further work on other potential road projects that could support the Government’s ambition for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Further information can be found on the Highways England website

The preferred route for the Bedford to Cambridge section of East West Rail (EWR) was announced during January 2020. A series of consultation events are currently on hold. The latest news can be viewed here.

The consultation on the preferred route for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet Road received strong support. Ecological survey work and archaeological trial trenching are in progress to support the Development Consent Order application which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate later this year. Further details are available on the Highways England website

The Lower Thames Crossing team are now preparing a DCO application which is due to be submitted later this year. For more information visit the Highways England website

Significant progress has been made on the A421 dualling from Eagle Farm roundabout, Milton Keynes to Junction 13, M1 and completion is due by the end of 2020. Updates can be viewed here.

The Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee approved the planning application for the M1-A6 Link Road, subject to planning conditions in January 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 during 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

A Full application for 21 dwellings at Rear of Moat Farm Close, Greenfield was dismissed (10 June 2020)

A Full application for 3 dwellings at Fildyke Road, Meppershall was dismissed (4 August 2020)

An Outline application for up 9 dwellings at Biggleswade Road, Upper Caldecote was dismissed (27 August 2020)

A number of further appeals are pending:

  • Plummers Lane, Haynes (Written Reps – decision awaited)
  • The Lane, Wyboston (Written Reps – decision awaited)
  • Hall End Road, Wootton (Written Reps – decision awaited)
  • Ickwell Road, Upper Caldecote (Written Reps – decision awaited)
  • Hookhams Lane, Renhold (Public Inquiry – November 2020)
  • Grange Lane, Lower Caldecote (Hearing – not yet arranged)
  • Shefford Road, Meppershall (Hearing – not yet arranged)
  • Lower Wood Farm, Sundon Road, Harlington (Hearing – not yet arranged

Of national interest the appeal decision at Finchampstead Road, Wokingham by Gladman Developments Ltd (25th August 2020) is notable as the Inspector held that the council could demonstrate a five-year housing land supply and did not accept that 500 dwellings should be discounted due to Covid-19.

Secretary of State Decisions

The Secretary of State allowed an appeal at Nantwich (15 July 2020) despite Cheshire East Council demonstrating a 5 years housing land supply. Significant weight was afforded to the national policy imperative to boost the supply of housing. Cheshire East Council will not be challenging the decision in the High Court.

Recent Planning Caselaw Updates

On 12 May 2020 the High Court (Mr Justice Holgate) dismissed the challenge to the Secretary of State decision in the case The Mayor of London v SSHCLG and Harrow School [2020] EWHC 1176 (Admin), upholding the decision to allow the planning appeal and the weight given to the very special circumstances which outweighed the harm to Green Belt and heritage harm. The appeal against the Cost Decision was allowed.

In the case of Norfolk Homes Ltd v North Norfolk DC [2020] EWHC 2265 (QB), on 20 August 2020 the High Court (Mr Justice Holgate) granted a declaration confirming that the new permission under Section 73 is not bound by the Section 106 obligations associated with the original planning permission. The original S106 obligation was not varied when the S73 permission was granted.

To receive our quarterly newsletter by email please register your email address below.  For more information on anything in this update or advice on town planning matters please get in touch.