Permitted Development Rights

The Government has announced it is revising its proposals to grant permitted development rights for larger house extensions for a period of three years. The announcement was made in the House of Commons when the Growth and Infrastructure Bill was debated.
The proposed reforms should make it quicker, easier and cheaper for people to build small-scale, single-storey extensions and conservatories without the need for making a planning application.
The proposals have nothing to do with the requirements of the building regulations which would still apply.

National Planning Policy Framework unveiled

The National Planning Policy Framework is now in force. The Planning Minister Greg Clark stated that the new framework:
• made it clear that the local plan was the keystone of the planning regime
• was crystal clear that sustainable development embraces social and environmental as well as economic objectives and does so in a balanced way
• referred explicitly to the five principles of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy
• went further than ever before and is clear that councils should look for net improvements on all dimensions of sustainability
• made explicit that the presumption in favour of sustainable development works through, not against, local plans
• made it clear that relevant policies – such as those protecting the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Parks and other areas – cannot be overridden by the presumption
• recognised the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside (whether specifically designated or not)
• made explicit what was always implicit: that councils’ policies must encourage brownfield sites to be brought back into use
• underlined the importance of town centres, while recognising that businesses in rural communities should be free to expand
• embraced a localist approach to creating a buffer of housing supply over and above five years, and in the use of windfall sites
• allowed councils to protect back gardens – those precious urban oases
• ensured that playing fields continue to benefit from that same protection that they do currently.

A New Town

It is quite amazing and exciting to see that a master plan together with the first phase scheme for a large new town planned for Northstowe in North West of Cambridge has been submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council. The first phase will include 1,500 new homes together with infrastructure and other facilities although the master plan includes a total of 10,000 new homes together with a town centre, employment areas, school and community facilities.
The site is to be located on the former RAF Oakington Barracks and includes surrounding land amounting to about 480 hectares. It is believed to be the largest new settlement in England since Milton Keynes. It will no doubt contribute to the local housing need and provide much welcome employment for the construction industry.

Commencement order for parts of the Localism Act

Key measures from the Government’s Localism Act have come into force following a Parliamentary commencement order.

These include planning changes to the enforcement rules: a first step in the process to give councils the ability to take action against people who deliberately conceal unauthorised development in preparation for commencement of the substantive provisions in April 2012.

Also clarified are the rules on predetermination: these free councillors to express their opinions on issues of local importance without the fear of legal challenge. This had been a source of much concern for members sitting on planning committees.

Former Cadbury site earmarked for homes

Taylor Wimpey has signalled plans to build 700 new homes on the former Cadbury factory site at Keynsham near Bristol. The volume house builder also wants to develop 20,000 sq m of commercial floor space and other facilities at the 220-acre site. Following local consultation the developer hopes to submit a master plan later this year.