Councils warned on late adoption of CIL as Barratt calls for fast-track consent for large housing schemes

Out-Law News | 25 Jun 2014 | 4:53 pm | 1 min. read

Housebuilder Barratt Developments has called for housing schemes of more than 5,000 homes to receive fast-track development consent as nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs), according to a report in Planning Magazine .

The Growth and Infrastructure Act extended the NSIP regime to allow developers of certain types of projects to apply to the Planning Inspectorate for development consent orders instead of applying to the local planning authority for planning permission.

In June 2013, following a consultation on the types of projects to be included in the regime, the government ruled out allowing this fast-track process for housing developments, stating that "the government maintains the view that responsibility for planning for housing should remain with local authorities and that the current policy and legal position should be maintained."

In a speech at the Royal Town Planning Institute's (RTPI) annual convention, Barratt land and planning director, Philip Barnes, said that schemes exceeding 5,000 homes "are part of the strategic infrastructure of this country as much as the schemes which are determined through the NSIP process at the moment", according to the Planning Magazine report.

"If I was a power station, I'd be guaranteed a decision in 12 months", said Barnes, according to the report. "Surely that should [also] apply to 5,000-plus homes."

Barnes also called for a review of restrictions on green belt development.

"We've got to move to where are we going to build on the green belt rather than whether we should build on the green belt", said Barnes, according to the report. "I'm a huge fan of the green belt, but I think there is scope to build on a tiny proportion of the most environmentally degraded parts of the green belt to address what is a national crisis, without having any significant adverse effect on the five purposes of the green belt around our cities."

Also speaking at the convention was Steve Quartermain, chief planner for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). According to a second report in Planning Magazine, Quartermain said that the DCLG would have little sympathy for local authorities that failed to adopt community infrastructure levy (CIL) charging schedules by the deadline of April 2015.

"The view is that local authorities should have been doing this", said Quartermain, according to the report. "They've been given enough warning to do it and those who haven't done it will face the consequences."