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Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 - good news for developers?

View profile for Oonagh McKinney
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The Growth and Infrastructure Bill received Royal Assent in April this year, introducing a number of reforms that will affect the planning application process. The measures are in theory intended to reduce red tape and make it easier for housing development and new infrastructure projects to get under way. The Government are hoping this will kick start growth in the economy through real estate development.

One such measure is aimed at helping developers overcome the threat of an application being made to register land as a town or village green and overcoming the resultant delays to their planning applications. Once an application for planning permission in respect of the land in question is submitted, then the right to register land as a town or village green is suspended. The right to register may however become available again if such planning permission expires or after rights of appeal against refusal have been exhausted.

Other changes have been made to substantially increase various permitted development rights in an effort to encourage and facilitate development of properties. For example, the permitted depth of a single-storey rear extension to a detached house has increased from 4 metres to 8 metres. This is subject to conditions.

Commercial Property Associate Kerry Houston-Kypta says “The general sweeping changes that were proposed to residential permitted development rights have to an extent been watered down by various exemptions and conditions that apply. In addition, some of the changes are only available for a limited period of time. The rules are fairly complex and should be checked carefully before undertaking any development.”

Not all provisions of the act are in force yet. The following measures will only come into force on a day or days appointed by the Secretary of State in due course:

  • Planning Inspectors’ powers to award costs to be extended
  • Controls to limit the amount of documentation required by Local Planning Authorities (LPA’s) in support of planning applications
  • Major planning applications will be allowed to be made directly to the Secretary of State in cases where the LPA has been designated as under performing
  • The current two year period for applicants to register land as a town or village green following the end of the qualifying user period will be halved.

For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Kerry or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.