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PA I - Powerpoint5. Town and Country Planning

PA I - Powerpoint5. Town and Country Planning

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Published by: boase on Dec 07, 2009
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Public Affairs Part I

Town and Country Planning

Reasons for Planning Policy
• To ensure development is correctly placed (e.g. on brownfield– not greenfield – sites, and with adequate infrastructure) • To ensure impact on environment is sustainable • To ensure it is located on suitable land unlikely to be affected by factors such as flooding

Two Types of Planning Policy
• Forward planning – i.e. each authority draws up a Development Plan designed to map out its overall planning strategy for the future (overseen by all types of local authority, including counties) • Development control – Where authorities respond to individual planning applications and decide whether to approve or reject proposed material changes to existing land or buildings, or carry out construction or demolition (overseen by unitaries or district/borough councils)

Types of Development Plans
Development plans come in three ‘varieties’, depending on which type of authority is proposing them: • Structure Plans – produced by county councils in two-tier areas (or joint strategic planning authorities – made up of representatives of boroughs/districts and counties) • Local Plans – usually prepared by borough/district councils in two-tier areas (except for Minerals and Waste Local Plans, produced by strategic planning authorities) • Unitary Plans – cover unitary authorities, and metropolitan and London boroughs

The Purpose of Structure Plans
• They are 15-year plans outlining how the county council/joint strategic authority thinks its whole area should be allowed to develop over that period They wrestle with tensions over the balance between development on greenfield and brownfield sites – developers normally argue for the former, while residents’ groups favour the latter Outline possible related employment initiatives and strategies to overcome potential transport and communication problems Set out policies for the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of land, traffic management and the preservation of the physical environment

• •

Introducing Structure Plans
• Initiate a consultation draft stage (i.e. informally consult the public and the local shire borough/district councils) Hold a deposit draft stage (i.e. formally publishing the draft proposals and putting them up for public inspection in public libraries and council offices. Copies will also be for sale) Following comments, appoint an inspector nominated by Secretary of State from Planning Inspectorate to hold Examination in Public (EIP) Following an informal local inquiry, during which objectors and supporters may be represented, a report is produced and passed to the county County decides whether to accept these conclusions and publishes its own report – if it refuses to heed his advice, it may face a further EIP Final draft of Structure Plan is formally adopted by the county The Secretary of State can “call in” plans at any time, but only other way it can be altered after publication is if taken to High Court on a point of law •

• •

Drawing up Local Plans
Local Plans are more detailed versions of Structure Plans. They are drawn up and adopted by councils as follows: • • • • Informal consultation with local societies, interest groups and residents through media and/or specially produced newsletters Authority must advertise details of the draft Local Plan and deliver a special leaflet outlining these details to every local household Hold a series of local meetings and exhibitions at which officers and councillors make presentations on the draft plan The authority preparing the plan must also consult formally with the county council and other interested bodies at that level

Drawing up Local Plans
• At the more “formal” stage of the process, a period is set aside for objection/support/comment, followed by a Local Plan Inquiry where there is any cause for dispute. (Should this dispute continue after this stage, the county council can invite the Secretary of State to act as “referee”) Inspector’s report used as basis for proposed modifications to plan Another inquiry may be necessary to consider further objections Publication of final draft plan (objectors among first to be informed) Final stage is deposit stage – i.e. the publication of the final version of the plan. Since the 2000, this has been split into two stages: (a) Any objections made to the original finalised draft of the plan leads the council to negotiate on these concerns and publish a second draft (b) Following this, the only objections that can now be heard by the inquiry inspector must relate to the revisions (i.e. not the original draft version)

• • • •

Development Control
This refers to the type of planning story with which we are all most familiar – those relating to an individual’s or business’s attempt to gain planning permission – or planning consent – for a development. Planning authorities (district/borough councils or unitaries) have the right to give one of the following judgments on a proposed planning development: • To give unconditional consent – i.e. to simply approve it (developer has go-ahead for entire plan) • To give conditional consent (approval subject to provisos – e.g. better access to site; no trees chopped) • To refuse consent – to turn an application down outright

Levels of Planning Consent
In addition, there are two “levels” of consent through which plans must pass to be granted full approval: • Outline planning consent – i.e. permission granted in principle for developing a derelict site (enables developers to “test the water”) • Detailed planning consent (often for reserved matters – i.e. issues not originally decided upon when the outline permission was given) – approval of the specific detail of an application (i.e. how many houses, what size, etc)

How to Apply for Planning Consent
• Official forms obtained from the authority responsible for development control (i.e. district councils, unitaries or metropolitan/London boroughs) The application appears in the register of applicants and immediate neighbours should be immediately notified Certain kinds of application must be advertised in the local press to enable people who “may be affected by it” to make representations Secretary of State may “call in” controversial planning applications for a decision – normally when a bid raises issues of national or regional importance, or arouses more than local opposition (e.g. Falmer Stadium) All applications must be dealt with within two months - unless an extension granted. Applicants who haven’t heard definitively by the end of that period may appeal to the Secretary of State on the grounds of “nondetermination” Plans normally dealt with by committees – major ones go to full council Parish and/or community councils will also be fully consulted •

• •

Other ‘Rules’ Governing Planning
• • Whenever consent is granted, it is normally on the proviso that actual development commences within five years of the decision If consent is refused, or if only conditional consent is granted, the applicant has six months to lodge an appeal – free of charge – with the Secretary of State (appeals dealt with by an inspector, or with ultimate decision taken by SoS on basis of his written report) The Secretary of State’s decision may be challenged in the High Court by judicial review on the basis of the Human Rights Act. In such cases, both the appellant or local authority can apply to the inspector for the other side to pay its costs Authorities now have the power to decline to consider planning applications on the grounds that the Secretary of State has refused a ‘similar’ one, on appeal, within the preceding two years.

Public Inquiries
These tend to only be called in exceptional circumstances, when there is an ongoing, unresolved issue over a major planning proposal. • • Chaired by independent inspectors appointed by Secretary-of-State Must be publicised in advance (invitations sent to formal objectors to plan; anyone with legal interest in site; and the local parish/community council) At their discretion, the inspectors may allow individuals other than those “with a right to be heard” to speak at their hearings Inspectors will listen to evidence for and against and make site visits to the proposed development area in question Inquiries likely to last a long time can be given more than one inspector Final judgment made by inspector – except in cases like proposed development of Stansted Airport’s runways and the controversy over Falmer Stadium. These are handed to the Secretary-of-State

• •

Other Planning-Related Terms
• Planning Contribution (gain) – Means by which a developer wanting to build a complex (e.g. shopping centre or housing) can offer to fund a related or indirect improvement to local infrastructure as an incentive to the planning authority to grant permission. An “on-site” example of this might be a roundabout immediately outside a Tesco superstore. An “off-site” one might be a playground elsewhere in the local area • Compulsory purchase – Legal power enabling local authorities, the government and other public bodies like the Highways Agency to force owners of property “standing in the way” of proposed developments to sell. Properties bought for market price they were worth before the decision to build on their land was announced • Building regulations – Separate permission is sometimes required in relation to individual small-scale planning applications for structural alterations (e.g. inserting staircases etc). This is usually awarded or refused on health and safety grounds

Listed Buildings
Buildings of specific “architectural and/or historical interest” are sometimes listed. On other occasions, they fall in what is known as a conservation area, and are therefore subject to conservation orders preventing them from being demolished or, in some cases, structurally altered at all (as with some listed buildings). Listed buildings include the following: • They are deemed to be of architectural interest (i.e. their features are in some way unique or sufficiently unusual – Royal Pavilion) • They are of historical interest (i.e. reflective of a particular period or movement – Brunswick Square) • They are linked to nationally important people or events (Shakespeare’s home at Stratford-upon-Avon) • They have “group value” as an architectural or historical unit or a fine example of planning (e.g. squares, terraces or model villages)

Different Grades of Listing
• Grade I – Buildings judged “exceptional” (e.g. the townhouses of Brunswick Square, Hove). Only two per cent of buildings qualify • Grade II* - Fractionally lower down the pecking order than Grade I (these include The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford) • Grade II – Buildings judged “particularly important” (e.g. Charleston near Lewes)

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