Buyer’s agents are very useful in the process of property buying and selling?

Confusingly only Development Plan Documents will constitute the Development Plan for the purposes of determining planning applications (Clause 37 (6)) though it is for a local planning authority to state The Bill refers to the Statement of Community Involvement as if it were a Development Plan document leaving its status potentially optional. Moves to streamline the system without compromising its effectiveness are to be welcomed, however, the complexity of the proposed LDS system compared with current Development Plans threatens to be counter-productive.

Property BuyingThe proposals offer a plethora of planning documents, some statutory and some not, some recent and updated, others left untouched for years. For business to monitor was is live and what carries weight will be hard enough. For community groups the new system could be bewildering maze of material. The system proposed for Wales by comparison (set out in clauses 56 to 66), First Home Buyer’s based on a single Development Plan, is simpler, more understandable for the public and the private sector and less likely to lead to confusion and delay through the creation of a new system. Alternatively, as with Supplementary Planning Guidance at present, they might be left informal but carry much less weight accordingly.

Proposals for Business Planning Zones (BPZs) have been widely publicised. In fact, Simplified Planning Zones have existed for some time and the only substantive difference mooted in this Bill under this topic is the proposed ability for RSSs to designate an authority to make provision for an SPZ in its area.

The local authority would then have to bring forward such proposals which are likely to be subject to criteria based policies. The TCPA is disappointed that the Government has not taken this opportunity to introduce third party rights of appeal or other measures to address injustices in the system. The TCPA advocates such rights being afforded only to those directly affected by development (such as those who live on or adjacent to the site for example) and in cases where a local authority is both developer and planning authority.

Third parties are unable to understand why they have no right of appeal whilst applicants have this right, particularly for example where a local authority is both applicant and decision maker for its own land. Judicial Review is not an adequate substitute it is a procedure only available to the wealthy and only on a point of law. Measures are needed to address injustices in the planning system giving precisely circumscribed third parties the right to appeal against decisions in which their homes or similar amenities are damaged by development.