PLANNING BILL 2014

NORTH AND MID WALES ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS

Welsh Government Consultation
Discussion to take place at the
Meeting to be held on 24th October 2014.

PLANNING BILL FOR WALES 2014

1. Introduction
The Planning Bill was presented in draft a few months ago and now the full details are now published for final consultation.

 

2. Planning Fees
There are two areas of change proposed:

a) To increase planning application fees by approx 15%

b) To extend the scope of when planning fees are charged to include:

(i) fees for the discharge of planning conditions;

(ii) the introduction of a fee for confirmation that a condition has been discharged;

(iii) a standard charge for drafting Section 106 agreements;

(iv) deemed planning application fees;

(v) facilitating broadband rollout;

(vi) a separate fee category for renewable energy/low carbon applications; and,

(vii) the division of planning fees for cross authority applications.

The ‘free go’ applications will only apply (following a withdrawal, refusal or re-submission) if the following requirements are met:

(a) must be made by, or on behalf of the original applicant;

(b) be for the same character or description of development on the same site, or part of that site; and,

(c) must be made within a certain time limit.

 

3. Proposed amendments to legislation on the power to override easements and other rights
The bill seeks to address the following issues:

On some land there are restrictive covenants and easements or other rights which affect land owned by other people. When development on land held for planning purposes takes place (often following compulsory purchase) it is often necessary to override these rights and allow appropriate compensation for the owners of the rights.
The provisions of the Acts listed at paragraph 1.1 above confer an immunity to carry out building operations on land acquired for planning purposes. It empowers the relevant organisation to interfere with easements and other rights where land has been acquired or appropriated for planning purposes provided that development is in accordance with planning permission
and compensation is paid. The easement might, for example, permit access over a site that is to be developed from neighbouring land or the land to be developed could be subject to a restrictive covenant that prevents the land from being used for a certain purpose.

The concern expressed when this bill was last considered was that such powers might be used to ‘push through’ obstacles to wind farm development .

 

4. Planning committees, delegation and joint planning boards
This part of the bill addresses Protocol and how Planning decisions are made.

Section 2: Planning Committee Protocol
Due to variance on how decisions are made between authorities and indeed
within single authorities it is proposed to have a set procedure which will
apply to all authorities and applications.

. Section 3: Planning Committees
The Welsh Government is to issued rules on how Planning Committees are
set up and how many are on such Committees.

Section 4: Role of Planning Committee
The Welsh Government will set out the role of the planning committee as
these often vary from Council to Council.

Section 5: National Scheme of Delegation
This section sets out a scheme of delegation of decisions which will
then become common over all authorities.

Training
Training for new members of a Planning Committee would be mandatory.
During the last consultation it was highlighted that delegation of decision making to officers misses out the elected members role. The suggestion last time was that where an Officer agrees with the Town or Community Council then it can be delegated. However if the Officer disagreed then the application is forced to Committee.

 

5. Frontloading the development management system
This part of the bill seeks to impose the applicant seeking pre-application advice. The bill also imposes a duty on the Planning Authority to provide such advice.

During the last consultation it was pointed out that such advice was only worth having if the Planning Officers stick to the advice given and not change their minds. This does not take away the right of the Committee to make the final decision.

R A Robinson FRICS AILCM
7th October 2014.