UK: 2019 Planning Predictions

2019 is likely to be an unpredictable and turbulent year in the UK and abroad, and few will be confident enough to predict whether Great Britain and Northern Ireland will leave the European Union in March; whether we will enjoy a heatwave in the Summer; or what the nation will watch now that Big Brother is off the airwaves.

In 1943, Winston Churchill said that "I always avoid prophesying beforehand because it is much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place." However our planning team have thrown caution to the wind and are sharing their predictions for the coming twelve months and what those changes might mean for our clients. Whether we are brave enough to revisit these predictions in December 2019 remains to be seen...

Permitted Development Rights

Expect new permitted development rights to be introduced allowing greater flexibility over changes of use in town centres as more and more traditional high street shops succumb to competition from internet retailers and changes in shoppers' habits. This is likely to include changes from shop (A1) to food and drink uses (A3, A4 and A5) (which changes have, until now, been eschewed) as well as leisure and community uses in a bid to retain activity and maintain vitality and viability.

Nigel Hewitson, Consultant

Technology

The industry will coin the term 'PlanningTech' as a sub-sect of 'PropTech'. Open data initiatives will increase the speed at which machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and visualisation tools (think virtual reality headsets) become important parts of the planning process. An inevitable tension will start to appear between the technology that developers are using, and local planning authorities/the Planning Inspectorate. It may be a few more years, however, until the first robotic Planning Inspector is unleashed.

Dominic Conte, Associate

Biodiversity

A new Environment Bill will be published in 2019 and that should receive Royal Assent without too much controversy. The primary purpose of the Bill will be to establish a new body to hold the Government to account for breaches of environmental duties (a role currently filled by the European Commission) but is likely to also include measures requiring new developments to offer mandatory biodiversity net gains. This may mean another angle for objectors to bring judicial review challenges in future and may even result in a re-examination of protected species legislation.

Ben Stansfield, Partner

Housing Delivery

The publication of 2018's Housing Delivery Test results may well spark some creative thinking from local planning authorities. This will apply to those that have failed to meet 95% delivery against assessed need, and which will then have to prepare action plans; and more importantly to those that have failed to meet 85% delivery, and which will then have to find a 20% land buffer of further deliverable sites to add to their supply. Against risks of speculative applications or for any authorities achieving less than 25% delivery, having their plans declared out of date, how radical will authorities be and will they turn to their compulsory purchase order (CPO) powers to unlock development on suitable sites?

Tim Sharp, Principal Associate

Infrastructure

Despite the push for greater delivery of housing, the Government is not neglecting the infrastructure needs of the UK. In 2018, the Government published its National Policy Statement (NPS) on Airports, which clears the way for an application from Heathrow Airport for a Development Consent Order for a third runway at the airport. While it is facing a series of legal challenges due to its decision to back Heathrow Airport as the site for expansion of the country's air capacity, it now looks like a new runway at Heathrow is all but inevitable.

The Government is currently consulting on a draft NPS for water resources, to set policy for new water infrastructure projects such as reservoirs and water transfer stations to tackle and limit the impacts of climate change and possibilities of droughts in the future. Also on the agenda this year should be the publication of an NPS for a new Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in the UK to store higher activity radioactive waste. The need for a GDF in the UK has increased as construction has begun on a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset and the UK is falling behind other nations, such as Finland, who are already building these facilities.

Nick Harding, Associate

Developer Contributions

New rules regarding the use of developer contributions towards essential infrastructure are likely to be introduced to achieve the Government's aim of facilitating housing delivery.

The Government wants to ensure that the infrastructure needs of the community (as opposed to the needs of the development proposed); will be identified at the outset, allowing projects to include the cost at an early stage. A new strategic infrastructure tariff is likely as are the widening of purposes for which developer contributions may be spent.

More controversially, the Government has proposed that community infrastructure levy responds to changes in land values so that larger contributions are paid. In addition, viability assessments will probably be "hardwired" into the local plan process.

It seems to me that as a result of these rules (if introduced):

  1. Housebuilders may consider that genuine viability issues will be lost in the consideration of applications;
  2. Developers will be anxious to see how the details of the "land value" changes will work. If (as seems likely) a percentage of the land value is to be paid to the planning authority (or maybe the education and/or highways authority), it is difficult to see how overall contributions would not increase;
  3. Developers will need to understand how any new strategic tariff will work in areas where there is already a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule and whether there will be a procedure in place to ensure that there is no double counting
  4. For those authorities without a CIL charging schedule in place, there may be an added incentive to introduce a schedule if it is perceived that added value may result.

As a result, fewer planning applications will be submitted or, more applications will be refused because they do not contribute enough. In either case, housing delivery is not assisted.

Jan Hebblethwaite, Principal Associate

Habitats

Following a slew of rulings on protected habitats from the European Court of Justice in 2018, there will almost certainly be continued litigation on habitat matters in the coming year. In addition to any further landmark decisions from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), expect to see domestic cases providing (further) guidance around the decision in People Over Wind, as well as Grace and Sweetman, and Holohan, and also numerous objections (at various stages) to developments founded upon habitat protection issues. Furthermore, with the conclusion at the end of 2018 of a consultation on an amendment to paragraph 177 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (relating to the presumption in favour of sustainable development), 2019 will undoubtedly be an active year in this context.

Vicky Fowler, Partner

Trees and Woodlands

At the very end of 2018, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published its Protecting and Enhancing England's Trees and Woodlands consultation paper. The proposals include: (i) a requirement for residents to be consulted over whether trees on their streets can be felled; (ii) obligations on councils to report tree felling and replanting; and (iii) giving the Forestry Commission increased powers to tackle illegal tree felling. The paper comes after the battle over mass tree-felling in Sheffield but, ironically, may do little to forestall a repeat of the Sheffield litigation. Leaving aside the administrative burden of consulting local residents in respect of every tree proposed for felling, the proposals contain notable exemptions from the requirements, including trees that are dangerous, diseased or damaged etc. As the Sheffield litigation evidenced, these are not terms that are capable of objective meaning. In an effort to appease all sides (but, in reality serve no one), the measures will be included (largely in their current form) as part of the Environment Bill and spark further high court challenges.

Read the original article on GowlingWLG.com

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions