Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

The Government's flagship Localism Bill was granted royal assent earlier today.

The Localism Bill has been subject to detailed Parliamentary scrutiny in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords since December 2010, which has culminated in a number of amendments being made to its provisions. However, the initial 'localism agenda', a key component of the Coalition Government's planning reform agenda, when taken together with the draft National Planning Policy Framework, has emerged relatively unscathed.

The Localism Act paves the way for a number of important changes to the planning regime in England and Wales, including the abolition of regional strategies, the creation of new Mayoral Development Corporations in London, the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, and the creation of a new Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, to sit within the Planning Inspectorate and prescribes a new obligation on developers to carry out pre-application consultation for major development schemes.

A new tier of planning has also been created with the introduction of a new right for communities to influence decisions on planning in their neighbourhood. This right includes the ability to influence where communities think development should take place.

As always, the devil will be in the detail of secondary legislation required to implement many of the provisions contained in the new Act.

A more detailed analysis of the new Act and its implications for planning authorities and developers alike will be published in due course.

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