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Changes made to the housing and planning bill by Peers

by Paul Addison on May 12, 2016 No comments

There is a possibility that the housing and planning bill could be facing an extended parliamentary cross-fire as additional changes have been pressed by peers. This week (27 April) the bill is due its third reading in the upper chamber.

Included in the most recent chances asserted by peers was a facility that local authorities could necessitate affordable housing provision on some small-scale developments in certain rural areas.

Labour peer Baroness Royall claimed that the chance would guarantee local authorities will community meeting the affordable housing demands.

“In ways appropriate to their circumstances”.

Matters relating to carbon emissions from homes and on so-called sustainable drainage systems (SuDs) were also asserted by peers.

The commons will have the legislation retuned to them where the government will use its majority to repair the damage done to the bill in the Lords, particularly over starter homes policy.

In turn this will generate what is commonly known as ‘ping pong’. Until both houses come to an agreement on the precise wording of the bill the legislation will be going between each house.

In the Lords peers have been criticizing during scrutiny that a lot of the key details of the legislation have been unavailable or promised in as yet unpublished secondary legislation. Unless ministers being to offer compromises they will be in a mood to dig in over the amendments they have made to the legislation.

The Lords have recently been amending the bill in order to provide a limited third party right of appeal which will only be available to parish councils and neighborhood forums where a local authority agrees a housing scheme which is not agreed with an existing or developing neighborhood plan.

It has been demanded by peers that the bill clears up that permissions in principle (PiPs) will only be for “housing-led” development. The government have also announced a modification which particularly prohibits PiPs for development related to the “winning and working of materials”

A “planning freedoms scheme” has been approved by the government for a new provision in the bill. This will result in opportunities for trying trying new planning models and new housing for councils and combined authorities.

The government announced changes during the final session of the report stage in the Lords which reduced some detail regarding the proposed pilot scheme to test competition in the processing of planning applications.  Before this scheme could be put into action ministers would have to discuss and go back to parliament with an outcome, this is likely to have a five-year time limit.   

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Paul AddisonChanges made to the housing and planning bill by Peers

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