Amendment made: 12, page 9, line 12, at end insert—

“( ) See also section (Content of banning order: company involvement) (which enables a banning order to include a ban on involvement in certain companies).” —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for NC37.

Clause 16

Duration and effect of banning order

Amendments made: 13, page 10, line 24, leave out “the ban for each banned activity” and insert

“each ban imposed by the order”.

This amendment and amendment 15 ensure that the provisions of clause 16 apply to a ban on involvement in a company as envisaged by NC37.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 209

Amendment 14, page 10, line 25, leave out “6” and insert “12”.

This amendment increases the minimum length of a ban imposed by a banning order to 12 months.

Amendment 15, page 10, line 26, leave out first “the” and insert “a”. —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 13.

Clause 21

Financial penalty for breach of banning order

Amendment made: 16, page 12, line 15, leave out “£5,000” and insert “£30,000”. —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This increases the maximum financial penalty that may be imposed where a person has breached a banning order.

Clause 28

Power to include person convicted of banning order offence

Amendment made: 17, page 14, line 16, at end insert—

‘(1A) A local housing authority in England may make an entry in the database in respect of a person who has, at least twice within a period of 12 months, received a financial penalty in respect of a banning order offence committed at a time when the person was a residential landlord or a property agent.

(1B) A financial penalty is to be taken into account for the purposes of subsection (1A) only if the period for appealing the penalty has expired and any appeal has been finally determined or withdrawn.” —

(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This extends the power to include people in the database of rogue landlords and property agents.

Clause 29

Procedure for inclusion under section 28

Amendment made: 18, page 15, line 10, at end insert

“, or

(b) received the second of the financial penalties to which the notice relates.” —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This is consequential on amendment 17.

Clause 31

Information to be included in the database

Amendment made: 19, page 15, line 35, at end insert—

“(f) details of financial penalties that the person has received.” —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This relates to the power to make regulations about the information that must be included in a person’s entry in the database of rogue landlords and property agents. It provides that regulations may require details of financial penalties to be included.

Clause 34

Removal or variation of entries made under section 28

Amendments made: 20, page 16, line 31, at end insert—

‘(4A) If the entry was made on the basis that the person has received two or more financial penalties and at least one year has elapsed since the entry was made, the responsible local housing authority may—

(a) remove the entry, or

(b) reduce the period for which the entry must be maintained.”

This is consequential on amendment 17.

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Amendment 21, page 16, line 31, at end insert—

‘( ) The power in subsection (3), (4) or (4A) may even be used—

(a) to remove an entry before the end of the two-year period mentioned in section29(2)(b), or

(b) to reduce the period for which an entry must be maintained to less than the two-year period mentioned in section29(2)(b).” —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

Where an entry in the database of rogue landlords and letting agents is made under clause 28 it must be made for a minimum period of 2 years - see clause 29(2)(b). This amendment makes it clear that the 2-year period does not constrain the power to remove or vary an entry.

Clause 37

Use of information in database

Amendment made: 22, page 17, line 34, at end insert—

‘( ) The Secretary of State may disclose information in the database to any person if the information is disclosed in an anonymised form.

( ) Information is disclosed in an anonymised form if no individual or other person to whom the information relates can be identified from the information.” —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This allows the Secretary of State to disclose information in the database of rogue landlords and property agents to any person if the information is disclosed in an anonymised form. This will allow it to be used for statistical or research purposes.

Clause 38

Introduction and key definitions

Amendments made: 23, page 18, line 9, leave out “in certain cases” and insert

“where a landlord has committed an offence to which this Chapter applies”.

During Public Bill Committee the Bill was amended to make it a criminal offence to breach a banning order. Changes were also made to ensure that Chapter 4 of Part 2 applies to breach of a banning order in the same way as it applies to other offences to which the Chapter applies. This amendment and amendments 24 and 25 are consequential on those changes.

Amendment 24, page 18, line 16, leave out subsection (3). —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 23.

Clause 40

Notice of intended proceedings

Amendment made: 25, page 19, line 35, leave out “breached the banning order or”. —(Mr Marcus Jones.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 23.

Clause 53

General interpretation of Part

Amendment made: 26, page 24, line 21, at end insert—

““financial penalty” means a penalty that—

(a) is imposed in respect of conduct that amounts to an offence, but(b) is imposed otherwise than following the person’s conviction for the offence;”. —

(Mr Marcus Jones.)

See Member’s explanatory statement for amendment 17.

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New Clause 29

Planning applications etc: setting of fees

‘In section 303 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (fees for planning applications etc), after subsection (8) insert—

“(8A) If a draft of regulations of the Secretary of State under this section would, apart from this subsection, be treated as a hybrid instrument for the purposes of the standing orders of either House of Parliament, it is to proceed in that House as if it were not a hybrid instrument.”.’—(Brandon Lewis.)

This new Clause provides that any planning fees regulations in England made under section 303 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that would otherwise be subject to the hybrid procedure in Parliament will be subject to the usual affirmative procedure instead.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Brandon Lewis: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 30—Resolution of disputes about planning obligations.

Government new clause 31—Planning obligations and affordable housing.

Government new clause 43—Processing of planning applications by alternative providers.

Government new clause 44—Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): general.

Government new clause 45—Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): fees and payments.

Government new clause 46—Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): information.

New clause 40—Right of appeal: local interested parties

‘(1) Where a local planning authority does not have an up-to-date and approved local development plan meeting the requirements of Part 3 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and—

(a) grant planning permission, whether or not subject to conditions, or

(b) refuse an application for planning permission,

a local interested party may by notice appeal to the Secretary of State as if the interested party was an applicant for the purposes of section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”).

(2) In determining the appeal the provisions at Part III of the 1990 Act shall apply but with the interested party or parties treated as the appellant and the applicant for planning permission treated as a party to the appeal with the same rights as an applicant appealing under section 78.

(3) Before determining an appeal under section 78 the Secretary of State shall, if the appellant, the applicant for planning permission or the local planning authority so wish, give each of them an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the purpose.

(4) For the purposes of this section “local interested party” means any person who is not the applicant for permission in question and whose land, property or other interests in the locality of the development would be directly and significantly affected by the development.’

This new clause would give local interested parties a right of appeal in development control affecting their land, property or interests.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 212

New clause 41—Right of appeal: local parish councils

‘(1) Where a local planning authority—

(a) do not have an up-to-date and approved local development plan meeting the requirements of Part 3 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and

(b) grant permission for the development of more than 100 dwellings,

a local Parish Council may by notice appeal to the Secretary of State as if the Council were an applicant for the purposes of section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”).

(2) In determining the appeal the provisions at Part III of the 1990 Act shall apply but with local Parish Council or Councils treated as the appellant and the applicant for planning permission treated as a party to the appeal with the same rights as an applicant appealing under section 78.

(3) Before determining an appeal under section 78 the Secretary of State shall, if the appellant, the applicant for planning permission or the local planning authority so wish, give each of them an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the purpose.

(4) For the purposes of this section “local parish council” means a parish council—

(a) within whose boundaries all or part of the development at subsection (1) would take place,

(b) whose boundary is adjacent to the development, or

(c) would otherwise be directly and significantly affected by the development.’

This new clause would give local parish councils a right of appeal in respect of developments consisting of 100 or more dwellings.

New clause 48—Neighbourhood right of appeal

‘(1) After section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) insert—

“78ZA A neighbourhood right of appeal

(1) Where—

(a) a planning authority grants an application for planning permission, and

(b) the application does not accord with policies in an emerging or made neighbourhood plan in which the land to which the application relates is situated, and

(c) the neighbourhood plan in subsection (1)(a) contains proposals for the provision of housing development, certain persons as specified in subsection (2) below may by notice appeal to the Secretary of State.

(2) Persons who may by notice appeal to the Secretary of State against the approval of planning permission in the circumstances specified in subsection (1) above are any parish council or neighbourhood forum by two thirds majority voting, as defined in Section 61F of the 1990 Act, whose made or emerging neighbourhood plan includes all or part of the area of land to which the application relates.

(3) In this section “emerging” means a neighbourhood plan that—

(a) has been examined,

(b) is being examined, or

(c) is due to be examined, having met the public consultation requirements necessary to proceed to this stage.”

(2) Section 79 of the 1990 Act is amended as follows—

“(a) in subsection (2), leave out “either” and after “planning authority”, insert “or the applicant (where different from the appellant)”;

(b) in subsection (6), after “the determination”, insert “(except for appeals as defined in section 78ZA and where the appellant is as defined in sub-section 78ZA(2).””

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This new clause would give parish councils and neighbourhood forums rights of appeal in respect of planning permission for development that did not accord with policies in an emerging or finalised neighbourhood.

New clause 50—Minimum space standards for new dwellings

‘In Schedule 1 Part M to the Buildings Regulations 2010, after subsection M4 insert—

“Internal Space Standards

(M5) New dwellings should meet the minimum standards for internal space set out in the National Described Space Standard, 2015.”’

The new clause would incorporate the National Described Space Standard into building regulations to ensure all new dwellings are built to meet those requirements.

New clause 51—Local Authorities and Development Control Services

‘(1) A local planning authority may set a charging regime in relation to its development control services to allow for the cost of providing the development control service to be recouped.

(2) Such a charging regime will be subject to statutory consultation.’

The amendment would allow local authorities to develop a planning fees schedule that would enable the full costs of processing planning applications to be recovered.

New clause 57—Planning obligations: local first-time buyers

‘(1) After section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (planning obligations) insert—

“106ZA Planning obligations in respect of local first-time buyers

(1) When granting planning permission under 70(1)(a), or permission in principle under 70(1A)(a), for the construction of new dwellings for sale, the local planning authority may require that a proportion of the dwellings are marketed exclusively to local first-time buyers for a specified period.

(2) The “specified period” in subsection (1) must start no earlier than six months before the new dwellings have achieved, or are likely to, practical completion.

(3) “First-time buyer” in subsection (1) has the meaning given by section 57AA(2) of the Finance Act 2003.

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

(a) define the “specified period” in subsection (1),

(b) define “local” in subsection (1), and

(c) the definition “local” may vary according to specified circumstances.

(5) The regulations in subsection (4) so far as they apply to local planning authorities in Greater London will not apply to these authorities unless the Secretary of State has consulted and received the consent of the Greater London Authority.”’

This new clause would empower local planning authorities to impose a planning obligation when giving planning permission for the construction of new housing for sale requiring that a proportion of the housing is marketed exclusively to local first time buyers.

New clause 58—Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990: amendment

‘(1) The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 is amended as follows—

(2) In Section 1, for subsection (3) substitute—

“(3) In considering whether to include a building, or part of a building, in a list compiled or approved under this section, the Secretary of State shall take into account—

(a) whether its exterior contributes to the architectural or historic interest of any group of buildings of which it forms part;

(b) the desirability of preserving, on the ground of its architectural or historic interest, any feature of the

5 Jan 2016 : Column 214

building consisting of a man-made object or structure fixed to the building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building; and

(c) the desirability of excluding specific features or structures (whether part of the building or otherwise within its curtilage) for the purposes of facilitating improvements in matters including, but not limited to, environmental performance, health and safety and cost-effective maintenance.”’

This new clause would make explicit the duties and powers of conservation and planning authorities to take account of the specific heritage priorities within a listed building’s curtilage against other considerations.

Government new schedule 4—Resolution of disputes about planning obligations: Schedule to be inserted in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Amendment 74, page 51, line 21, leave out clause 111.

Amendment 100, in clause 111, page 51, line 25, leave out “land” and insert “brownfield land for housing”.

The amendment makes clear that “permission in principle” is limited to housing on brownfield land in England.

Amendment 101, page 51, line 33, at end insert—

‘( ) Criteria for permission in principle and technical details consent will be subject to consultation with local authorities.’.

The amendment would ensure that communities continue to have a say on decisions that affect them through their local planning committees and through the local plan process.

Amendment 70, page 52, line 25, leave out “not”.

The amendment would ensure that permission in principle expires when the plan is no longer relevant or has been replaced.

Amendment 102, page 52, line 38, at end insert “, where prescribed information will be subject to consultation with local planning authorities.”.

The amendment would ensure that burdens on local authorities are minimised and existing systems for collection of information are used effectively.

Amendment 71, page 53, line 1, at end insert “unless any material considerations indicate otherwise.”.

The amendment would allow local planning authorities to overturn the ‘permission in principle’ decision where important material considerations which the plan making stage did not reveal have come to light.

Amendment 72,  page 53, line 18, after “period”, insert “and in any event no longer than five years”.

The amendment would create certainty for communities and developers and contributes to reducing ‘permission in principle’ by using for land speculation and land banking.

Amendment 103, in clause 112, page 54, line 27 [], at end insert “and in particular the achievement of sustainable development and good design;”.

The amendment would place a high level obligation on the face of the Bill to ensure brownfield land contributes to sustainable places.

Amendment 80, in clause 115, page 56, line 7, after “financial”, insert “costs and”.

This amendment would require information about costs as well as benefits to be included in certain planning reports.

Amendment 81, page 56, line 15, after “financial”, insert “costs and”.

See amendment 80.

Amendment 82, page 56, line 23, after “financial”, insert “cost and”.

See amendment 80.

Amendment 83, page 56, line 24, at end insert “cost or”.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 215

See amendment 80.

Amendment 84, page 56, line 26, at end insert “cost or”.

Amendment 85, page 56, line 35, after “financial”, insert “costs and”

See amendment 80.

Amendment 86, page 56, line 36, after “the”, insert “cost or”.

See amendment 80.

Amendment 87, page 56, line 38, at end insert—

“(c) provide a description of financial costs by reference to the infrastructure requirements and environmental impacts associated with an application for planning permission, and require consideration of whether these have been addressed in the development plan for the area.”.

See amendment 80.

Amendment 78, in clause 116, page 57, line 25, at end insert—

“(7A) Guidance referred to in subsection (7) must include a requirement for the developer to pay development value for land that is compulsorily purchased for housing as part of any Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.”.

This amendment would ensure that developers who acquire land for housing developments via compulsory purchase as part of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project must pay the development value as if it had been acquired on the open market.

Amendment 104, in clause 118, page 58, line 40, after subsection (3) insert—

‘(4) Section 136 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 (Objects and General Powers) is amended as follows.

(5) After subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) Corporations under this Act must contribute to the long-term sustainable development and place making of the new community.

(2B) Under this Act sustainable development and placemaking means managing the use, development and protection of land and natural resources in a way which enables people and communities to provide for their legitimate social, economic and cultural wellbeing while sustaining the potential of future generations to meet their own needs. In achieving sustainable development and placemaking, development corporations should—

(a) positively identify suitable land for development in line with the economic, social and environmental objectives so as to improve the quality of life, wellbeing and health of people and the community;

(b) contribute to the sustainable economic development of the community;

(c) contribute to the vibrant cultural and artistic development of the community;

(d) protect and enhance the natural and historic environment;

(e) contribute to mitigation and adaptation to climate change in line with the objectives of the Climate Change Act 2008;

(f) positively promote high quality and inclusive design;

(g) ensure that decision-making is open, transparent, participative and accountable; and

(h) ensure that assets are managed for long-term interest of the community.”

(6) Section 4 of the New Towns Act 1981 (The Objects and General Powers of Development Corporations) is amended as follows.

(7) For subsection (1) substitute—

“(1) The objects of a development corporation established for the purpose of a new town or garden city shall be to secure the

5 Jan 2016 : Column 216

physical laying out of infrastructure and the long-term sustainable development and place making of the new community.

(1A) Under this Act sustainable development and place making means managing the use, development and protection of land and natural resources in a way which enables people and communities to provide for their legitimate social, economic and cultural wellbeing while sustaining the potential of future generations to meet their own needs. In achieving sustainable development, development corporations should—

(a) positively identify suitable land for development in line with the economic, social and environmental objectives so as to improve the quality of life, wellbeing and health of people and the community;

(b) contribute to the sustainable economic development of the community;

(c) contribute to the vibrant cultural and artistic development of the community;

(d) protect and enhance the natural and historic environment;

(e) contribute to mitigation and adaptation to climate change in line with the objectives of the Climate Change Act 2008;

(f) positively promote high quality and inclusive design;

(g) ensure that decision-making is open, transparent, participative and accountable; and

(h) ensure that assets are managed for long-term interest of the community.”’

The amendment would insert placemaking objectives for both UDC’s in Local Government Act 1980 and for New Town Development Corporations in the New Towns Act 1981 and sets out an ambitious high quality purpose for making the development of scale growth.

Government amendment 10.

Government amendment 75.

Government new clause 32—Engagement with public authorities in relation to proposals to dispose of land.

Government new clause 33—Duty of public authorities to prepare report of surplus land holdings.

Government new clause 34—Power to direct bodies to dispose of land.

Government new clause 35—Reports on improving efficiency and sustainability of buildings owned by local authorities.

Government new clause 36—Reports on improving efficiency and sustainability of buildings in military estate.

New clause 49—Power to direct

‘The Secretary of State shall define in regulation powers for local planning authorities to direct the use of underused, un-used or otherwise available publicly-owned land in a local area to support redevelopment or regeneration as outlined in a local development plan.’

The clause would give councils the power of direction on publicly-owned land to enable it to be brought forward more quickly to support redevelopment or regeneration opportunities.

Government new schedule 5—Authorities specified for purposes of section (Reports on buildings owned by local authorities and others).

Government amendment 8.

Brandon Lewis: New clause 29 allows the Secretary of State to make regulations via the affirmative procedure about the fees to be paid by applicants when they make planning applications. New clause 30 and new schedule 4 set out a dispute resolution process to speed up section 106 negotiations in order to help housing starts to proceed more quickly. They provide for a person to be appointed

5 Jan 2016 : Column 217

to help resolve outstanding issues in relation to section 106 planning obligations. The new process will also apply only in situations where the local planning authority would be likely to grant planning permission if satisfactory planning obligations were entered into, ensuring that we only target sites where prolonged negotiations could stall development.

After the appointed person issues their report on that mechanism, the parties will still be free to agree their own terms if they do not agree with the report, but only if they do so quickly. We want to encourage the parties to tie up their loose ends quickly. We are consulting on the finer detail of the process and we will bring forward regulations in due course.

New clause 31 seeks to provide the Secretary of State with a power to restrict the enforcement of planning obligations in relation to affordable housing in certain situations. We have included a definition of affordable housing that includes starter homes. These changes will support house building. We will be consulting on how to use that power, and measures will be introduced through regulations.

New clauses 32 to 36 and new schedule 5 are designed to ensure that public sector bodies make efficient use of their land and buildings as part of their duty to deliver the best value for the taxpayer. I want to thank my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General for his excellent work on those amendments.

New clause 32 requires Ministers of the Crown, and any public bodies added through regulations, to engage with other relevant public bodies when developing proposals to dispose of land. That duty was inspired by local authorities who have experienced varying levels of engagement, ranging from excellent to none at all. It will set out clearly what local authorities and other relevant bodies should expect when the Government are disposing of land.

Clause 32 will ensure that engagement takes place on an ongoing basis from the point at which proposals for disposal are being developed. The clause requires Ministers of the Crown to engage with local authorities.

New clause 33 is a transparency measure and will require public authorities to prepare and publish a report setting out: details of land that is surplus to requirements and has been retained as surplus for longer than two years or, in the case of property that is wholly or mainly residential, longer than six months; and why surplus assets have not been released. Regulations will make further provision about reports, and guidance will give more detail on determining whether land is surplus.

Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP): New clauses 32 and 33 contain references to Scotland. Will the Minister bring forward further detail on what the implications will be for Scotland and what communications he will be having with the Scottish Government on the reports that are to be produced?

Brandon Lewis: As I have just outlined, we will be making further provisions about the reports through regulation, and there will be guidance giving more detail. I will be happy to speak with the hon. Lady and her colleagues in the weeks ahead.

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New clause 34 enables the Secretary of State to use the power to direct the disposal of land in specified circumstances. These will be set out in regulations. One such circumstance could be where land is listed in a body’s surplus land report under clause 33—for example, land that has been held surplus for longer than two years or, in the case of wholly or mainly residential land, longer than six months. The Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 provides important safeguards, and I want to be clear today that they will continue to apply to the new provisions.

New clauses 35 and 36 represent a significant step forward in the transparency of performance on the sustainability and efficiency of the public sector estate. They extend requirements contained in section 86 of the Climate Change Act 2008 to provide an annual report on progress made towards making the estate more efficient and sustainable. New clause 35 provides for similar reporting requirements to apply to local government in respect of each local authority’s estate. Schedule 5 sets out local authorities in England that are subject to this new duty. Applying reporting requirements to the local government estate will strengthen accountability to local taxpayers and support local government’s drive to be more efficient and have effective use of their assets, as the best local authorities are already doing.

New clause 36 mirrors the 2008 Act requirements in respect of the Ministry of Defence military estate. The inclusion of the military estate in the annual state of the estate report will bring greater transparency to that part of the Government estate and its performance in key areas. Government amendment 8 specifies that new clauses 32 and 33 extend to England, Wales and Scotland.

In Committee, I was invited by my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) to consider the potential for fast-track planning applications and having a more competitive planning process. Other hon. Friends backed that up and made similar comments. I can now say that the Government are bringing forward new clauses 43 to 46 and new clause 75 to test the benefits of introducing competition in the processing of planning applications. New clause 43 would give the Secretary of State the power, by regulation, to introduce pilot schemes for competition in the processing of applications for planning permission. It will also give him the power to designate who participates in a pilot scheme. Let me be clear: this is about competition for the processing of applications, not their determination. The democratic determination of planning applications by local planning authorities is a fundamental pillar of the planning system, and that will remain the case during any pilot schemes that the Secretary of State brings forward. Let me also be clear that new clause 43 would require that any pilot schemes brought forward by the Secretary of State will be for a limited period specified in regulations.

New clause 44 provides that regulations may set out how any pilot schemes should operate. New clause 45 provides that regulations may include provision for the setting, publishing and charging of fees by designated persons and planning authorities in the pilot areas, and for the refunding of fees in specific circumstances. It would also provide for the Secretary of State to intervene when he considers that excessive fees are being charged.

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New clause 46 provides that regulations may provide for the sharing of information between designated persons and planning authorities in pilot areas, and with the Secretary of State. Amendment 75 provides that new clauses 43 to 46 come into force on Royal Assent. Those new clauses will allow us to test, in specific areas of the country and for a limited period, the benefits of allowing planning applicants to choose who processes their planning application. That will lead to a more efficient and effective planning system, better able to secure the development of the homes and other facilities that our communities need and want. Introducing choice for the applicant enables them to shop around for the services that best meet their needs. It will enable innovation in service provision, bringing new resources into the planning system and driving down costs while improving performance.

Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) (Lab): I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about the planning clauses of the Bill, even at this late hour. The Bill represents a very significant rolling back of the policies of localism introduced by the last Government, who sought to give local communities more control over both planning policy and local planning decisions.

Planning is a progressive discipline. It is the mechanism we have for brokering the differences between individual interests and collective community needs, ensuring that those who profit from development contribute to meeting the needs of the communities in which they are building, and protecting the things that we hold dear—whether local heritage, natural habitats, special views or simply the character and diversity of our local high street or neighbourhood.

The Government like to blame the planning system for the failure to deliver new homes, but objective evidence suggests that it is not the right target. On planning, the Government show again and again that they have an inaccurate analysis and a long-term plan that does not work. The number of homes being granted planning permission each year is about 230,000. That does need to increase, but it is not too far off the 250,000 homes we need in order to begin to make inroads on the housing crisis.

Yet if we look at the number of homes being delivered, either by starts or completions, we see that both stand at about 130,000. Recent research by The Guardian has revealed that the nine house builders in the FTSE 100 are sitting on enough land to build 600,000 homes. Against a backdrop of increased planning consents and continued deregulation, house building starts fell by 14% between April and June of last year.

The Government’s response is to seek to deregulate the planning system further, curiously through a series of centralising measures that will take control away from local communities and make it harder—not easier—to deliver new development. At a Communities and Local Government Committee meeting before the Christmas recess, the Minister for Housing and Planning mentioned a development in his own constituency of 900 homes that is being built out over 15 years. That frustratingly slow speed of delivery has nothing to do with the local planning system and much to do with a Government who simply lack the political will to increase the rate of home building to deliver what is necessary.

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The Government’s cuts to local government funding are clearly having a negative impact on planning departments across the country, and I am pleased that Ministers appear to have accepted the arguments that I and other Opposition Members made during the Bill Committee stage: that councils should be able to operate a charging regime for planning services that enables them to recover the true cost of providing the service. Subject to the detail to be set out in the regulations, that should enable councils to resource their planning departments properly, even in a context of continued cuts to their overall funding. Further, it will help to ensure that under-resourced planning departments do not present a blockage to new homes being built. It will enable applicants to be sure of receiving a good level of service and more swift decisions, and help to scale up the level of planning permissions being granted to meet the need we have for new homes.

12.30 am

Notwithstanding this welcome change of heart, there remain very significant concerns about the planning clauses in the Bill. The Government have introduced new clause 43 very late in the day so that it has not been subject to proper scrutiny by the Public Bill Committee. The new clause introduces the outsourcing of planning applications. It is potentially very damaging. It weakens the accountability of local planning services and removes with one hand the fees that the Government are enabling local authorities to raise with another. Fundamentally, it is a solution to a symptom of the problem of the disproportionate effect of local government cuts on planning departments. This symptom will be alleviated by the proper resourcing that a new system of fees will facilitate. I therefore urge the Government to rethink this proposal, which simply undermines local planning departments.

The Government further undermine local planning authorities with the imposition of two very strong duties in relation to starter homes. Local planning authorities will have a duty to promote starter homes and ensure that they are delivered on all reasonably sized sites, with provision for the Secretary of State to intervene via a compliance direction if the local authority fails to comply with these duties. Local authorities have no such duties in relation to any other form of housing. Their responsibilities on housing relate entirely to assessing local need and delivering a range of housing to meet that need. It is therefore an extraordinary form of centralisation to impose such strong duties in relation to one particular form of housing.

In Committee, I raised repeatedly concerns about permission in principle. In 18 years working as a town planner, I saw so often that the acceptability of the principle of development to a local authority and to a local community is dependent on aspects of the detail. Issues such as the density and height of the development, the size of the homes proposed, design quality standards, or—on everyone’s minds in the current context—flood risk mitigation are not technical details. They may be informed by technical studies, but they form part of the fine-grain set of judgments that a local planning authority makes as to whether a site is suitable for a housing development. Permission in principle, as far as we can tell, will not set any parameters other than land use and quantum of development. A developer will know that

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housing can be built on the site but not what size or type or what the design and quality standards must be, and importantly, unless they have made their own investigations, they will not necessarily know anything about the land on which they want to build. Permission in principle therefore offers very little to developers, but it also offers nothing to communities. As a consequence, it will fail to speed up the pace of development and the delivery of new homes.

Let us take, for example, a brownfield site in a historic town centre. It might be possible to judge without too much detailed information that 10 housing units could be developed on the site, and permission in principle could therefore be given, but there may be archaeological remains below the ground, and issues such as the massing of development and the style of the architecture might be absolutely critical in determining whether development on the site is acceptable.

Another example might be a local plan approved in 2012 that identifies a site for 800 residential units on the edge of a town, based on typical local vernacular designs of two and three-storey houses. Because it is in the local plan and has been added to the brownfield register, the site will be granted permission in principle. A technical details consent is then submitted that identifies that 70% of the land cannot be built on because of subsidence issues which were not known about at the time of the local plan allocation, as a ground condition survey would not have been carried out for each site in the local plan. Since the permission in principle contains the quantum of development, the 800 units are to be crammed on to 30% of the site, creating an overly dense development entirely unsuited to its context, with heights of up to 15 storeys. Local members cannot refuse it on design, sustainability or layout reasons, as the permission in principle states that having 800 units is acceptable. Permission in principle will weaken the powers of local authorities to refuse unsustainable or poorly designed developments, and erode the power of local communities to take part in the decision-making process.

Fundamentally, this Bill has no vision for planning. It does not harness the planning system as a tool for delivering the homes and infrastructure we so desperately need. It weakens our plan-led system and erodes the ability of the planning system to deliver high-quality, beautiful, sustainable places.

We need to deliver new homes in large numbers and very fast to meet demand, but we also need to build attractive, successful and sustainable places that will become much-loved communities and a part of the heritage of the future. We cannot achieve that without a planning system that prioritises place making, design standards and sustainability, and that involves communities properly in taking decisions about the future of their areas.

Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con): I have tabled two sets of amendments to deal with concerns about the operation of the planning system. Those concerns are shared by a number of my right hon. and hon. Friends, who support the amendments.

New clause 48 addresses the fact that neighbourhood plans can be undermined by speculative developments that are granted planning permission but that run contrary to those plans. Neighbourhood planning has been a great achievement on the part of this Government, who

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have given communities power. Often neighbourhoods plan for far more houses than they originally intended or were allocated. Responsibility for the plans has been transferred to neighbourhoods and they are popular, but support for them relies on their integrity, and that support is undermined when speculative developers try to get in applications ahead of the completion of neighbourhood plans or even after they have been completed. They bang in their applications, and either they are upheld by the local authority, which is fearful of losing an appeal, or the developer makes an appeal that is upheld by the planning inspector. The development is then allowed to go ahead, which leads people, including groups of volunteers, to ask, “Why have we spent literally years working on this neighbourhood plan for where developments should go—a power that was given to us, the community—only for it to be overturned by a developer?”

Sir Oliver Heald (North East Hertfordshire) (Con): So many people in towns such as Buntingford and the villages in my constituency spend so much time surveying opinion and considering all the aspects of the heritage of their village in order to come up with a neighbourhood plan for their community. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is wrong that that can then be trashed by an application by a speculative developer? These plans need to have a proper place and proper respect.

Nick Herbert: My hon. and learned Friend puts his point extremely well. I happen to know about the situation in Buntingford and how angry people are about speculative developments in his constituency.

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): That echoes what is happening in Chapel-en-le-Frith in my constituency. Does my right hon. Friend agree that when people’s faith in the neighbourhood plan on which they have worked long and hard is undermined, that breaks down their faith in the planning system from top to bottom, because that is what they focus on at the start?

Nick Herbert: I strongly agree with my hon. Friend. The whole point of the policy of localism and neighbourhood planning is that people are told explicitly that they will have control and be able to determine where development goes and protect land that they do not allocate for development for a period of, say, 15 years of the life of the plan. If that is overturned very quickly, or even as they complete their plan or just before it is passed by a referendum, that undermines confidence in the whole policy of localism. That is bad for the policy of neighbourhood planning and for the Government’s policy of localism. It means a return to a system of planning by appeal and a developer-led system, which undermines support for new housing, when what we want is a plan-led system. For all of those reasons, the policy that allows speculative developers to creep in at the last moment and undermine plans is wrong. That loophole needs to be closed.

Developers have the right to appeal against planning permission that is refused, but the community has no right of appeal, which is part of the problem. The only recourse is to invite the Secretary of State to call in an application that appears to run contrary to national policy, but that is very much a last resort. Many of us have been grateful to the Secretary of State when he has

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been willing to do that because something appears to have gone wrong in a local area, but that is not a process on which we necessarily want to rely.

Before the election, I and others proposed a community right of appeal, which commanded a lot of support in this House. We are now proposing a more limited, neighbourhood right of appeal. That would give communities or defined people in a community, such as a parish council, the ability to mount appeals against speculative planning applications that are granted if they run contrary to a neighbourhood plan or an emerging neighbourhood plan that is very close to being completed. That would allow a form of redress and introduce a check into the system. It would send a clear signal to developers that the abuse of the neighbourhood planning process is no longer allowed.

A number of organisations, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Civic Voice, support the proposed neighbourhood right of appeal, which I think would create a sensible balance in the planning system and strengthen the very good policy of neighbourhood planning.

The second set of amendments contains amendments 80 to 87 to clause 115, which places a new duty on local authorities to report on the financial benefits of proposed developments. The problem with the clause is that it is not balanced by any duty to assess the costs of proposed developments. It undermines public support for new housing when people see that inadequate infrastructure is provided to support it. If people are already concerned about access to the local school of their choice, the congestion on local roads, the waiting times at their local GP surgery or even more immediate and profound things such as the ability of the sewerage system to cope with increased development, which has been an issue in my constituency, and additional infrastructure is not provided when new housing is built, thereby exacerbating those problems, it undermines the support for new housing. If we address the infrastructure deficit more effectively, it will build support for the new housing that is so desperately needed to give people the chance to get a foot on the housing ladder.

This set of amendments would simply require local authorities, as well as assessing the benefits of proposed developments, to assess the costs. Those costs would include the infrastructure costs. This proposal would not prevent development, but it would require a proper assessment of the costs, which is not otherwise being done. There is a problem in that local authorities have a shared responsibility in this area. The local authorities that are granting planning permissions or making plans are not always the same authorities that are responsible for providing the elements of infrastructure, which are often county councils. Policy is not joined up in that respect. There have been repeated attempts through guidance and assurances to address infrastructure concerns, but they have not been adequate to meet local concerns. These amendments would again provide a reasonable balance in the system.

I hope that the Minister will consider my amendments favourably. If he is unable to accept them, I hope that he will at least say what he proposes to do to address the very legitimate concern on the part of local communities that if development must come, it should first be in

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accordance with neighbourhood plans and secondly be matched with suitable infrastructure to support it.

Mr Betts: I signed the amendments tabled by the right hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) on the necessity of demonstrating to communities how the infrastructure requirements of any development will be completed and carried out. I agree with him that the greatest concerns that people have about developments, whether they be in small villages, city centres or suburban areas, is what the impact will be on local traffic arrangements, whether local public transport will be provided, whether there will be sufficient capacity in doctors’ surgeries and schools, and whether the water and sewerage systems will be capable of dealing with the demands of the developments. All those things are extremely important. Currently, there seems to be no automatic way in which a planning authority has to reassure communities that those issues will be taken account of when it approves a planning application.

I draw the House’s attention to a report that the Communities and Local Government Committee produced in the last Parliament, in which we looked at the operation of the national planning policy framework during its first two or three years. Recommendation 11 stated:

“In setting out the reasons for approving development, decision-makers should fully explain the consideration they have given to its impact on infrastructure and explain how and where they expect the infrastructure to be provided, and to what timetable.”

In other words, if an application is to be approved, it should be clearly laid out that a planning authority has considered how the infrastructure associated with, needed and required by that development will be provided, who will pay for it, and to what timetable it will be produced.

12.45 am

The Committee’s recommendation seems entirely consistent with the amendment and the need to ensure that infrastructure is put in place. Planners should demonstrate—as should a planning committee when taking a decision—that those costs will be identified and the infrastructure provided, to allay the fears that many communities rightly have. In practice that infrastructure does not follow—a planning application is agreed, but that community will have problems because of the lack of infrastructure associated with the development. It would be good if the Minister would at least take on board the spirit of the amendment and see how it can be reflected. Everyone agrees that infrastructure requirements from planning permission should be followed through, but the real question is how that should be done.

New clause 31 deals with the definition of affordable housing. The Minister will say that £450,000 in London and £250,000 outside London is a top limit, but houses up to that limit will be regarded as affordable. Interestingly, subsection (5) states:

“The Secretary of State may by regulations amend this section so as to modify the definition of “affordable housing””

In other words, “affordable housing” is no longer what people can afford, but what the Government say people can afford. If the Government do not find themselves producing enough affordable housing under the current definition, they do not have to build more houses; they simply have to change the definition so that more

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houses are covered by it. The Minister is getting into a bit of a fantasy world, but unfortunately the Government are operating in the real world.

The current planning system is essentially this Government’s system. They completely revised the NPPF, and when the Select Committee considered that there was general support for the overall intention, but concern about some of the details. The Government have announced their intention to make further amendments to the NPPF, which the Committee will consider, and I am pleased that the Government have extended the consultation period for that. They have changed rules on permitted developments and given themselves extra powers to ensure that planning applications are dealt with in a certain period. Now, however, without any real consultation, and with a short period of notice as the new clause was produced just before Christmas, new clause 43 is effectively about the privatisation of the planning service. That is what it potentially amounts to after pilots have been brought in.

Let me explore what that might mean. Does it mean that an individual or organisation that submits a planning application will be free to shop around for whichever alternative provider they think can give them the best chance of getting a planning application accepted? Will they be able to look at the track record of providers around the country?

Chris Philp: I believe the new clause makes it clear that the third-party providers will handle the processing but not the determination. The new providers will provide speed and efficiency, but decision making will remain where it currently is—with elected members and officers.

Mr Betts: If the hon. Gentleman thinks that the process and discussions between an applicant and an officer dealing with that application will have no impact at all on whether permission is given, he is mistaken. Process is important, and how an applicant engages with a planning officer can lead to an eventual decision on the application. Just because a committee may make the final decision and say yes or no, the idea that the process has no role to play in shaping that eventual final decision is fundamentally wrong.

Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that speeding up a decision and having another provider might mean that there is far less opportunity for local communities to be consulted and for proper research into local history and conditions? Such things might not be done properly because the new providers are interested in speed productivity as opposed to quality decisions.

Mr Betts: It is extremely worrying. The second point I was going to make is that we can all have views on occasions when the planning system does not work as well as it should, but nevertheless planning officers in a local authority have some understanding of their community—how it operates, what its needs are, who should be consulted and who should be involved in the process. My experience is that while there may be a minimum requirement on consultation, very often, as an application is considered, extra consultation is undertaken beyond that which is actually required to ensure the views of communities and different interested

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parties are taken into account. My worry here is that someone parachuted in from outside, with no knowledge of an area but a track record of dealing with applications quickly, may not be as sensitive to the needs of a local community. If I was a local MP in an area with particular planning pressures and had concerns about getting those decisions right, I would start to be very worried about the scenario that is developing.

The point has been made that in the end decisions will be left to the planning authority. What does that mean? Many authorities now delegate a lot of less important decisions about schemes that are not major—individual extensions to an individual property, for example—to officers. Will decisions be delegated to an alternative provider, or will the alternative provider have to make a recommendation to a planning officer to take the delegated decision? The proposal is very unclear. What is the situation? If the delegated decision is taken by an alternative provider, the decision is not taken with any local democratic input whatever. Or, if a delegated decision is passed on to a council officer, who pays for the time of that officer? The fee will have all gone to the alternative provider.

Let us come on to the decision that goes to a committee. Who writes the committee report? Will the alternative provider write the report and put the pros and cons of the application for councillors to decide, or will it be a council officer? If it is a council officer, who pays for the council officer’s time? To what extent will there be liaison between the officer and the alternative provider? If it is not the council officer, an alternative provider is going to be appointed by the applicant to write the report for members of the planning committee. Does anyone think this might not affect the decision-making process? Of course it could.

Christian Matheson: Does my hon. Friend consider the possibility that the alternative provider might also be liable for costs if a planning decision was overtaken based on a recommendation it had given to the council committee that was incorrect in the first place?

Mr Betts: That would be a very interesting decision. When recommendations are made to councillors, very often reasons are given as part of the officer’s report. If councillors follow those reasons, they would expect them to have a defensible case if an appeal was lodged. If the advice to councillors was wrong, however, it may be the council that incurs costs. Who is liable for those costs? I am not sure that that is spelled out either.

As I understand it, there is a requirement to share information between an alternative provider and the council. Presumably, the council is taking no fee—all the fee goes to the alternative provider—so who provides the council’s costs? We have already heard that planning departments have had just about the largest cuts of any section of local government in the past five years. This is a service that has had major cuts. It will now have to continue to do some of the work on these schemes with no benefit at all from the fee, which means less resources for the planning department.

This matter ought to have been given a great deal more consideration. It has come in on Report with very little time to consider it. I have just raised some concerns about who, ultimately, will be responsible for extra costs, recommendations to the committee, writing reports

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and getting involved in delegated decisions. None of that appears to be covered by the clauses before us. I hope the Minister can give us some answers, because this is a worrying proposal that could undermine the accountability of the planning process to local communities.

Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) (Con): I rise to support new clause 58, which is a brilliant amendment designed to fulfil our ambition to be the greenest Government ever. It would apply to only 345,191 grade II listed buildings in England, which would be freed to add insulation and solar panels and make other environmentally important improvements without needing to go through the listed building consent process currently required for any alteration to a listed building or within the curtilage of that building. It would free up hard-working conservation officers and reduce costs and red tape, while ensuring that all the historical features protected by the listing remain protected and under the current restrictions.

The new clause would also remove the curtilage catch-all and deter homeowners who can afford to turn up the heating but must not. Instead, they could do better things to help fight climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It is only a tiny amendment, so, not surprisingly, it is opposed by Historic England, which fears that the odd feature it has forgotten to list might be, what—insulated? It knows that things have to change and that we need to follow the success of the climate talks in Paris with practical changes. If the Government have a better way of delivering the curtilage removal, I will gladly withdraw the amendment and thank them on behalf of all our children and grandchildren.

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green): I rise to support my amendment 74. One of the many reasons I oppose the Bill is that it takes power away from local communities and places it in the hands of private sector developers and central Government. It is a profoundly undemocratic Bill, and nowhere is that clearer than in the plans for planning authorities.

Essentially, the Bill will mean that local people have no say over developments in their neighbourhoods. The introduction of permission in principle will allow automatic planning permission on sites allocated for development without any scrutiny of the fine detail. Neither local authorities nor the public could object to development on these sites. It is the very opposite of the kind of democratically accountable local planning essential for sustainable development and the delivery of economic, environmental and social benefits. If I hear the Government say again that they are champions of localism, I will scream, because I cannot see how that is remotely consistent with a Bill that is all about taking power away from local planning authorities, local people and local scrutiny and placing it in private hands and the hands of Ministers. For that reason, my amendment would delete clause 111 altogether, getting rid of permission in principle.

I believe that local communities are best placed to understand the particular needs and detailed characteristics of their local area, but if such oversight is sidelined, we risk significantly compromising community resilience. I support the position set out by the hon. Member for

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Dulwich and West Norwood (Helen Hayes), who spoke eloquently on this issue, pointing out the poor timing of this debate: we are discussing removing local knowledge from the planning system at a time when we are all deeply concerned about flooding and when the past month alone has shown us the importance of flood-risk appraisals when granting permission for development. It would be particularly foolish to remove those now.

Moreover, nothing in the Bill will limit permission in principle to brownfield sites alone or prevent it from being applied to any development on any land allocated in a so-called qualifying document. The consequences are far reaching. As the Town and Country Planning Association has pointed out, fracking could easily be given permission in principle as part of a minerals plan, which would be completely unacceptable. I am glad that Labour Members share my concern about permission in principle and the extent to which it undermines local democracy. I support their proposed measures to mitigate the associated damage, but I hope they will go further and support my amendment, which would delete the clause completely. I am pleased to see the amendments that are designed to create a right of appeal for locally interested parties and neighbourhood planning bodies against decisions to grant planning permission.

1 am

Once again we see a Government who are not facing up to where the real problems are. When it comes to building much needed and truly affordable housing, it is not our planning process that is to blame for delays in delivery. We have heard from others in this Chamber about the size of land banks currently held by some of the biggest developers. It is simply not the case that the problem lies with the planning authorities. Instead of real problems being tackled, what we are seeing is essentially a power grab by central Government, which will not fix the housing crisis.

Finally, let me simply say that I share the concerns raised about new clause 43. Let us fund planning departments properly rather than undermine them still further. What we are seeing, as others have said, is essentially the privatisation of the planning system, destroying the last shreds of the democratic process that safeguards how our communities are made, putting power instead in the hands of developers. Dr Colenutt, a planning expert at the University of Northampton, has clearly said that this will replace a public sector ethos with a developer-led ethos. He points out that the designated persons are likely to be consultants who also work for the private sector. That introduces probable bias, reduces the public scrutiny trail still further and is likely to reduce the right of the public to comment on planning applications.

Local planning authorities are starved of funds. If the problem that the Government are trying to solve is that planning authorities are too slow, let us give them the funds to operate properly, not strip away their capacity. If we are serious about localism, let us ensure that control over our planning system remains with local authorities and local people.

Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con): I shall speak to new clauses 40 and 41, which stand in my name and those of some of my hon. Friends. To some extent, the proposals follow on from the ten-minute rule Bill that I

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introduced last January and are designed to bring a greater element of fairness to the planning system, while giving our local communities a greater say in their future. It could indeed be described as localism in action. Many of the proposals are in line with those advocated a few minutes ago by my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert).

Our constituents often and in very large numbers oppose planning applications that they feel would change the character of their village or the part of town in which they live and to which they feel very attached. Campaigns build up and residents groups are formed, but at the conclusion many people rightly feel aggrieved—they know that the decision would not have gone against them had they been the applicant, who of course has the right of appeal. For the objectors, it is the end of the line. How can it be fair for only one party to have the right of appeal?

This feeling is particularly evident when the local planning authority has no adopted local plans in place. In reality, this means that the democratic process has let people down. The local council might well have turned down an application, but without a local plan in place, it would then find it almost impossible to defend the decision in front of a planning inspector, particularly when the applicant appeared with lawyers, expert witnesses and all the resources needed to ensure a successful outcome.

I do not suggest that every planning application that has attracted objections should automatically have the right of appeal. It is possible to argue that case, but in reality an application to extend a home by building a conservatory, for example, might irritate a neighbour, but it will not change the whole character of an area. If, however, the development of a new housing estate is approved, that could change a semi-rural, edge-of-town parish into an extension of the town itself. Strategic gaps between town and country are vitally important.

In my ten-minute rule Bill, I suggested that a hard-copy petition from local residents should be able to trigger an appeal to the planning inspector. What should the threshold be? I suggested 10% at that time, but I am not hung up on the mechanics; it is the principle I would like to hear the Government concede.

Something must be done to protect residents when they have been let down by their local authority. Such a situation exists in the part of my constituency where North East Lincolnshire Council is the planning authority. Residents have suffered for many years because there is no up-to-date local plan and it will be at least another year before such a plan exists. That is unacceptable and leaves villages such as Humberston, New Waltham, Waltham, Laceby and Habrough open to a stream of applications. Some of those applications might be speculative, but they cause endless discontent among local people.

It is not necessarily the quality of the proposals that is in question, but the fact that local services and infrastructure are inadequate—school places, GP services and so on. There is a point at which the whole character of an area can be changed and strategic gaps between town and country may disappear. It is only right that local residents should have an opportunity to appeal.

If the Government reject a wider right for objectors to go to appeal, the very least they could do is allow parish councils the opportunity to lodge an objection

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with the inspectorate for significant-sized developments. Too often their opinions are squeezed out. I do not seek to stop development. We all appreciate that we need new homes, but we need them in locations that carry the full blessing of local people.

Of course there must be a balance. The system must not stifle development or become a tool to promote nimbyism. My new clauses are designed not to prevent building, but merely to allow development in locations that carry a broad measure of public support. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, it is a matter of fairness. Of course the appeal may be lost, but both sides will have had the same opportunities to argue their case.

The new clauses are an opportunity to extend the claim that we are the real party of localism. We must do more to involve local people in shaping their communities—indeed, some local people know better than the planners. We need only consider some of the properties built in high-risk flood areas: had more notice been taken of those who serve on internal drainage boards or as flood wardens, or members of the farming community, and had they had a second opportunity to contribute, we might have had better decision making.

The Government have done and are doing a great deal to help. They are ensuring that in future local plans are delivered in a more timely way and they offer support for producing neighbourhood plans, but that only goes so far. Parish councils and neighbourhood groups find that their resources are limited. It is not just financial support that can help them produce such plans—they need the expertise of an experienced official. What I want to hear from the Minister when he sums up—always assuming that he is not going to congratulate me on a far-sighted, well-crafted new clause that the Government feel obliged to accept—is that through existing structures, within the context of the Bill and with appropriate guidance to planning authorities and inspectors, the same result can be achieved.

Dr Blackman-Woods: I am going to speak in support of a number of new clauses and amendments and speak briefly to the Government’s new clauses.

New clause 50 would incorporate minimum space standards in building regulations for new dwellings in England. It seeks to ensure that new homes are of a high standard and are built with the realities of day-to-day life in mind.

In October 2015, the Government introduced a new housing standard called the national described space standard. That was supposed to improve the quality of new-build housing by ensuring that it was built to an adequate size. Unfortunately, it is voluntary and too complicated for most authorities to introduce.

Royal Institute of British Architects research shows that more than half of new homes being built today are not big enough to meet the needs of the people who buy them. The squeeze on the size of our houses is depriving thousands of families of the space needed for them to live comfortably. Moreover, establishing the standard within building regulations could minimise the bureaucracy at a local level and mean that councils had a ready-made measure that they could adopt. It is a straightforward proposal and I hope that even at this late hour the Minister will tell us that he is going to adopt it.

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New clause 51 would allow local authorities to develop a planning fees schedule that would enable the full costs of processing planning applications to be recovered. Since 2010, local authorities’ spending on planning has almost halved, falling from £2.2 billion then to £1.2 billion this year. That decline is second only to the decline in spending on cultural services. We heard from the Royal Town Planning Institute, which gave oral evidence to the Select Committee, that it believed that councils should be allowed to recoup the full costs of providing planning services. The point has rightly been made that good, well-run planning departments contribute to economic growth and development, and that they should be supported in that role.

The issue of overstretched local authorities was raised several times on Second Reading and in Committee. Local planning departments are experiencing reduced resources and greater pressure, as well as increasing insecurity, because people do not know when the next round of Government cuts will cause them to lose their jobs. The only way in which to address that is to ensure that planning departments have the resources that will enable them to work effectively.

I am pleased to note that what we said during all that time in Committee did not fall on completely deaf ears. Ministers appear to agree with us, in theory, that planning needs additional resources. However, new clause 45 is such a poor execution of that notion that it might as well not be there. We must ask why the Government have acknowledged the need for the full recovery of planning fee costs, but will allow that to happen only when the service is contracted out. Why have they not considered allowing local planning departments to do the same? What can they possibly mean by increased devolution if they do not even trust local planning authorities to set their own fees? I hope that the Minister will do something about that tonight.

New clause 57 would empower local planning authorities to impose a planning obligation when giving permission for the construction of new housing for sale by requiring a proportion of the housing to be marketed exclusively to local first-time buyers.

Sadiq Khan (Tooting) (Lab): My hon. Friend will know how fed up Londoners are with the current record low level of home building and what a con the Government’s £450,000 starter homes are, but is she aware of the scale of the problem caused by developers selling homes in London to investors in Asia and the middle east before they have been completed and made available for purchase by Londoners? Will the new clause go some way towards ending that scandal?

Dr Blackman-Woods: My right hon. Friend has made an excellent point. We are, of course, entirely aware of that issue, which affects those in London and elsewhere. New clause 57 would enable a proportion of new homes to be held back exclusively for Londoners, or local people elsewhere, who wanted to buy their first homes. Anyone who supports the ability of Londoners to buy their own homes must surely support the new clause. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will want to ask the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith) whether he will support it, given that it seeks to ensure

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that a number of new properties in London and elsewhere go to local first-time buyers. We know that this is a particular issue in London, because so many of the new properties are sold off plan to overseas investors before local people have a chance to enter the housing market.

Sadiq Khan: May I just make clear that I have nothing against foreigners? Some of my best friends and the families whom I know are foreigners. However, this is about fairness, and about giving first dibs to Londoners.

Dr Blackman-Woods: Absolutely, and that is what new clause 57 seeks to do, for Londoners and for a percentage of local people in all areas of the country where there is acute housing pressure. We want to ensure that some new housing is reserved, at least for a period, so that local people have a chance to get on to the housing ladder.

Amendment 100 would ensure permission in principle is limited to housing on brownfield land in England. We know that the Government’s productivity plan indicated that the proposals for permission in principle would relate specifically to brownfield land, but the Bill itself places no such limitations upon it.

1.15 am

In Committee the Minister said:

“We intend to limit the type of development that can be granted permission in principle to housing-led development”––[Official Report, Housing and Planning Public Bill Committee, 3 December 2015; c. 545.]

but we cannot see those limits in the Bill as it stands. As the Bill proposes such a major change to the planning system, and as permission in principle brings about a bypassing of the way in which local people can have their say in planning decisions, it is very important that we hear more from the Minister tonight about how permission in principle will act in practice. We know that there are now a number of different ways in which planning applications can be assessed and planning permission can be given. It has become very complicated and it is increasingly difficult for local people to be able to participate in the planning system because of these various routes. It is also a problem for developers and we would like to hear a bit more from the Minister this evening about how it is going to operate in practice.

Amendments 101 and 102 would ensure that communities continue to have a say on decisions that affect them through their local planning committees and local plan process. It asks that permission in principle and technical details consent will be subject to consultation with local authorities and their communities. Again, this is a straightforward amendment to ensure more say is given to local people in planning applications that affect them.

Amendment 70 would ensure that permission in principle would expire when the plan that relates to that permission is no longer relevant if the development has not already taken place. Clause 111 appears to confirm that permission in principle can outlast the plan that created the permission, and this raises questions about how, in the absence of a plan, the technical details stage can be determined. Again, this is a straightforward amendment. It simply removes one word from clause 111, but has far-reaching consequences in ensuring there is a time limit, at least to some extent, for permission in principle.

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Amendment 71 suggests that material considerations should be able to overturn permission in principle where those material considerations could not have been foreseen beforehand. We had an interesting discussion in Committee about this, and the Minister’s response was that the permission in principle should give upfront certainty on the core matters underpinning the suitability of the site, namely its use, location and the amount of development, and allow matters of detail to be agreed subsequently. Our point in the amendment is that if something emerges that could not have been known at that material consideration technical detail stage, how will permission in principle be overturned when the legislation simply does not allow that to happen?

Amendment 72 seeks to ensure that there is some certainty for communities and developers. Permission in principle would last only for a period of five years to ensure it does not contribute to land-banking.

Amendment 103 would insert an explicit duty in clause 112 so that it considers sustainable development and place-making when sites are included on a local register of land. We think that that is very important, and that is why we wanted to ensure that amendment 70 was discussed this evening. Land that is on the register should conform to place-making and sustainable development obligations, because we know that too often place-making objectors fall off the agenda. In Committee, the Minister suggested that the national planning policy framework covered all those issues. Well, if it does, there will be no harm in putting them into the Bill as well, because they will already conform to Government policy.

Amendment 104 seeks to ensure that when urban development corporations introduce new garden cities, as in the case of Ebbsfleet, those cities should conform to garden city principles. We believe that this is really important. A place cannot simply be turned into a garden city by calling it a garden city. If it is going to be a garden city, it should conform to the principles of having a strong vision, community engagement, community ownership of land, mixed tenure of homes, employment opportunities, beautiful and imaginatively designed homes, green spaces, opportunities for residents to grow their own food, strong communities and so on. If that is what the Government intend for their new garden cities, will they please put some detail about what those cities should be like into the Bill?

New clause 49 will give councils the power of direction in relation to publicly owned land, to enable it to be brought forward more quickly to support redevelopment or regeneration opportunities. We all know that, in certain circumstances, there is a need to speed up the process of the assembly of surplus land.

We have a real issue with a number of the Government’s new clauses, and I want to reiterate some of the points that other Members have made about them. The new clauses relating to planning were tabled extremely late, over the Christmas period. There was no opportunity to discuss any of them in Committee, yet they will introduce fundamental and systemic changes to our planning system. It is not us on the Opposition Benches who have been incompetent in the management of this legislation. The Government simply should not be producing so many important, far-reaching clauses at this stage of the Bill.

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Government new clause 31 introduces a new definition of affordable housing that includes starter homes. We object strongly to starter homes being included in that definition of affordable housing. In fact, many Opposition Members have said that it will render the term “affordable housing” useless. It is also a travesty that there can be no real scrutiny of these new clauses, and that we will have to leave it to the other place to carry out that role.

We take a similar view of Government new clauses 43 to 45, which my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts) has said amount to a privatisation of the planning process. That is what we think they will do. They will require local authorities to contract out at least some of the processing of their planning applications in order to give developers some ability to choose who processes their planning application. I cannot believe that the Government are serious about this. I know that they tend to carry out pilots, but they must realise that the potential for this mechanism to generate a degree of corruption and totally inappropriate conflicts of interest is probably endless. These new clauses need to be subjected to a degree of scrutiny that will not be possible this evening. It has not been possible for the planning agencies that will be affected by the changes to have a say or to have any input into the process. That is quite frankly disgraceful, because these will be huge changes to the planning system.

Although we can see that new clauses 32 to 36 attempt to ensure that more land comes forward for development, we think they are draconian. They force a range of public bodies to give up land for development, whether or not it seems to be appropriate, because there will be a requirement for them to reduce the amount of estate they hold. Again, it would have been useful to have had these clauses tabled earlier, so that we could have examined them in more detail in Committee. That job will again have to be left to the other place.

Finally, in addition to Opposition Members having real problems about the direction of the Government’s planning policies, some Government Members clearly have issues with the way in which local communities will have very little say in planning decisions that affect them. The hon. Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers) and the right hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) have tabled interesting new clauses that seek to ensure that local authorities, through parish councils or neighbourhood plans, have a greater right of appeal on planning decisions. We would seek to support those new clauses, and I hope the Minister takes them on board this evening. With that, I shall conclude my comments, after merely saying to the Minister that the planning system that he is putting in place will be his planning system, and we will judge him on it in the coming years.

Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) (Con): I was lucky enough to be chosen by the Whips to serve on the Bill Committee, and one great chink of light in the tunnel of that seemingly interminable yet fascinating debate was that one knew that we had Ministers who were listening to us on the Back Benches. I therefore say to the Chairman of the Select Committee and to the hon. Member for City of Durham (Dr Blackman-Woods) that it is quite wrong to say that Government new clauses 43 to 46 were suddenly dropped in today. This idea was spoken about several times in Committee, but most notably in the stand part debate on clause 102.

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I want to address some of the issues that the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts) raised in a moment, but the reason why I particularly asked the Minister to think about this—he promised to do so and has therefore brought these clauses back today—was in direct contradiction to what the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) said. She may be right that the planning system is not the only problem with generating new housing, but I cannot be the only Member of this House who has met local architects and local small developers, and forced the chief executive of the local council to come to a meeting because the failure of the planning department was stopping economic development and stopping housing being built. I am not talking about building by large developers or people sitting on land banks, but about building by small developers. That point was raised absolutely in Committee, when I, along with several of its members, asked the Minister to think about it.

I accept that this is a pilot and that there may or may not be some problems, but the Minister has clearly set out in these new clauses what he is aiming to do, which is to have not privatisation but competition between some planning authorities—and it is likely to be local planning authorities. As a London borough Member, I have encountered a development on a piece of land that is split between two local authorities, one of which is dragging its heels with the planning process. The application is now therefore going to the other local planning authority for it to move the process forward. If we want to generate the building of more housing, and we do, for it is a stated aim of this Government, it is not unreasonable to get some competition into the process, not the decision.

This Government and the Minister’s proposals are in no way undermining localism and the trust that is being put in local planning committees or local planning officers, who will make the final decision under delegated powers. We are seeking to allow small-scale developers to make applications and to get those processed more quickly. Opposition Members may have a number of reservations about that, but Government Members will be thanking the Minister for listening and introducing these new clauses, because they will give substantial help in reaching the target that we want small-scale developers to achieve. I urge the Minister to continue to reject the arguments made by the hon. Member for City of Durham.

I would have spoken to new clauses 32 and 36 but, having looked at the time, I think the House will probably benefit from my sitting down.

1.30 am

Robert Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst) (Con): I hope that I can trespass on the House’s time for a little while to offer perhaps a starter and a bonus as far as the Bill is concerned. I am talking about the discrete issue of nationally significant infrastructure projects, and in particular about clause 116 and amendment 78, which stands in my name. The bonus is that it deals with fairness in relation to land compensation, which is something that we have talked about on a number of occasions.

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The particular issue is this: under clause 116, the development consent orders, which are part of the nationally significant infrastructure project regime, are extended beyond the infrastructure projects themselves to related housing development. It can be housing development that is adjacent or linked to the scheme. Equally, it can be housing development that is physically very close to the scheme. I do not have a problem with that, and there will be a number of instances where the creation of a piece of infrastructure either opens up land sensibly for access to development for housing or may sever land that might be farmland or similar from the rest of the agricultural holding. In that case, it is more sensible then to use it for housing as it is not viable as an agricultural unit or some other type of business unit. There is no problem there.

The unique feature of development consent orders is that they combine both the granting of planning permission and the making of a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of the land. The issue that amendment 78 seeks to deal with is that under current compulsory purchase law, land acquired compulsorily—be it for this purpose or whatever—is compensated at current use value. In the majority of cases, that is likely to be agricultural value. Under certain circumstances, it might be a business value, but it is highly unlikely ever to be housing value. If the land had permission for housing, it would be dealt with by private treaty and there would not be the need to seek a compulsory purchase order anyway. What we are seeking to deal with is the anomaly that, for perhaps perfectly good reasons, an acquiring authority—it could be a public authority or it could equally be a private developer bringing forward a scheme either on their own or in partnership with a public agency—could, by getting a development consent order, acquire land from a small business at agricultural value and immediately get a significant uplift to housing value.

Under current arrangements, there is no means for the landowner or the business person, who may have seen their holding or business disrupted, to acquire by way of compensation any of the uplift in that value that comes from the granting of housing permission. That seems to me and to many to be unfair, which is why it has been raised by the Country Land and Business Association. The amendment seeks to address that by requiring the guidance, which clause 116 already says must be put in place, to include specifically the payment of the proper land value compensation at housing value.

It may be that the Minister will say that there are other means of dealing with that matter other than by primary legislation, but I hope he will accept that this is a real issue. In fairness to many small businesses and landowners who are affected by these important proposals, which are broadly for the public good, there should be some means of enabling them not to lose out on the uplift in value, which will, in effect, be a windfall to the acquiring authority.

I would welcome it if the Minister looked favourably on this amendment. If he does not, I hope that he will at least be prepared to talk to those who are concerned about this matter and see whether there is some other way, short of primary legislation, to take it forward and seek to resolve it.

John Howell (Henley) (Con): I understand completely where my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) and my hon. Friend

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the Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers) are coming from, but I take a slightly different view. Let me start with finalised neighbourhood plans. I have some sympathy with their argument that there should be a community right of appeal in these circumstances, but when we looked at this in the context of the Localism Act 2015, we originally did not include it to avoid the situation where part of a community would appeal against something that the rest of the community had just voted on. I urge Ministers to look at the issue again in the context of the Bill to see whether that problem can be worked out.

On emerging plans, I take a completely different view. First, such plans already have protection. The closer they get to finalisation, the stronger that becomes. Secondly, if communities undertaking neighbourhood plans start off at the end point rather than at the beginning, they are likely to have lots of help along the way, including at appeals.

Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire) (Con) rose

John Howell: I will not take interventions at this late stage.

The end point is not the inspection, but the referendum. Many communities in my own constituency have started the process of producing a neighbourhood plan and for one reason or another have abandoned it along the way, in some cases fairly close to the referendum. There is many a slip before the referendum takes place and votes are counted. To take the view that emerging plans should have a greater degree of protection would sterilise a whole area from development while that neighbourhood plan was theoretically an option. Plans have a proper place and they are being followed at appeal. There are examples of front-runners in my constituency where development has been proposed that was not in accordance with the neighbourhood plan and it was rejected at appeal.

Neighbourhood plans share responsibility with the district or borough council for the development of the planning system for their location. It is not just a matter of protecting a village. It is a view of the development of the village for the future, and in my experience the planning inspectorate is fully prepared to back those plans as they proceed.

Brandon Lewis: This has been a worthwhile and an interesting debate. The comments of the hon. Member for City of Durham (Dr Blackman-Woods) about the amendments were a bit rich, given that we had made changes and allowed extra time in Committee for her and her colleagues, and bearing in mind that we tabled the amendments back in December. Her comments on Opposition amendments repeated conversations that we had in Committee, so I do not intend to rehearse those and detain the House further on issues that we have already discussed.

On Opposition new clause 57, I made it clear in Committee that we need a radical shift in the way the housing market supports young first-time buyers so that we do not condemn a whole generation to uncertainty and insecurity. That is why we want to see 200,000 new start homes built over this Parliament exclusively for young first-time buyers at a minimum of a 20% discount on open market value to help them into low cost home ownership.

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I thank my hon. Friend the Member for North Herefordshire (Bill Wiggin) for his contribution this evening. I understand the points that he made and I will take them on board and review them along with my ministerial colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton South (James Wharton), who I know will be willing to meet him and interested bodies to discuss how we can take matters forward in an appropriate way.

I listened carefully to the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill). He is a respected former Minister in my Department with a wealth of experience and expertise. I believe that his concerns are addressed by provisions in existing legislation, but I am very willing to meet him and interested bodies, such as the CLA, to discuss making sure that the provisions in place are adequate.

I also welcome the comments from my hon. Friend the Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs (Nick Herbert) on ensuring that communities have a strong voice in planning. My right hon. Friend focused, in particular, on infrastructure. He is quite right to draw attention to the cost of development, so I thank him for doing so. It is right that new development should be supported by an appropriate level of infrastructure and that developers should provide support to put that in place. That is what the negotiations on section 106 and the community infrastructure levy are for. We would expect any significant infrastructure that would be needed to support a proposed new development to be a material consideration for the planning decision, and therefore covered in detail in planning reports for a local authority. We would therefore expect the costs associated with putting the necessary infrastructure in place to be covered.

I believe that the concerns expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Arundel and South Downs about neighbourhood plans are a clear indication of the strength of feeling that people have about ensuring that their voices are heard. I very much appreciate the intention of the amendment, as the Government place great importance on neighbourhood plans. However, I hope that I can convince him and other colleagues that these amendments are not necessary at this stage.

Neighbourhood plans give communities the power to shape the development of their area. When a neighbourhood plan is made, it becomes part of the development plan and attains the same weight in law as a local plan, as it forms the basis for decisions on planning applications. The law is clear: decisions should be made in accordance with the development plan, with material considerations taken into account. The national planning policy framework is also very clear. It states:

“Where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted.”

That is well understood by local planning authorities.

I want to be clear that a “made” neighbourhood plan is a clear indication of a community’s vision for its local area, as my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) has outlined, and it should be respected as such. I would expect local authorities and the Planning Inspectorate to give due weight to neighbourhood plans as they progress towards adoption. The NPPF itself is

5 Jan 2016 : Column 239

clear that the more advanced the plan, the greater the weight that may be given. Communities have their say throughout the local and neighbourhood plan-making process. Indeed, neighbourhood have the ultimate say with their referendum. Their views must be considered when decisions are taken on applications. The Bill speeds up and simplifies that neighbourhood planning process, which underlined the importance we place on it.

The system is therefore already geared towards ensuring that communities’ views are taken into account, and local authorities must respect that. If communities are concerned that their plans are not being respected as they should be, the Secretary of State has powers to intervene. I can confirm that the Secretary of State will continue to consider intervention to recover certain appeals where there is a made or submitted neighbourhood plan. I can further confirm that I intend shortly to lay a revised ministerial statement extending and confirming the current recovery criterion for a further six months. During that period, we will continue to review the measures. I hope that my hon. Friends who have spoken tonight and others who are interested will work with us and feed into that period.

The improvements that we are proposing in the Bill will strengthen and revitalise the planning system. They are a real shot in the arm, which will get new homes built with fewer quarrels and less delay. The changes that we are making will assist those who run into difficulties, for example when negotiating section 106 agreements, giving people clarity and security that homes given planning permission will actually be built, and built in good time.

We are continuing to set the bar as high as possible on how public land will be used. As the Prime Minister said on Monday, we will ensure that we get Britain building.

Mr Betts: Will the Minister give way?

Brandon Lewis: Not at this stage.

These amendment will allow us to capitalise on our progress and ensure that public sector land and the planning system is fit for the future. I hope that colleagues will reflect on these comments and not feel the need to press their amendments to a vote. I commend our new clauses to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 29 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 30

Resolution of disputes about planning obligations

‘(1) After section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (planning obligations) insert—  

“106ZA   Resolution of disputes about planning obligations

Schedule 9A (resolution of disputes about planning obligations) has effect.”

(2) After Schedule 9 to that Act insert, as Schedule 9A, the Schedule set out in Schedule (Resolution of disputes about planning obligations: Schedule to be inserted in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) to this Act.

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(3) In section 106 of that Act, in subsection (1), for “and sections 106A to 106C” substitute “, sections 106A to 106C and Schedule 9A”. —(Brandon Lewis.)

This new clause inserts a new section 106ZA in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which gives effect to new Schedule 9A to that Act. Schedule 9A is set out in new Schedule NS4. The new Clause also makes a consequential amendment.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 31

Planning obligations and affordable housing

‘(1) After section 106ZA of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (inserted by section (Resolution of disputes about planning obligations) above) insert—

“106ZB    Enforceability of planning obligations regarding affordable housing

(1) Regulations made by the Secretary of State may impose restrictions or conditions on the enforceability of planning obligations entered into with regard to the provision of—

(a) affordable housing, or

(b) prescribed descriptions of affordable housing.

(2) Regulations under this section—

(a) may make consequential, supplementary, incidental, transitional or saving provision;

(b) may impose different restrictions or conditions (or none) depending on the size, scale or nature of the site or the proposed development to which any planning obligations would relate.

Paragraph (b) is without prejudice to the generality of section 333(2A).

(3) In this section “affordable housing” means new dwellings in England that—

(a) are to be made available for people whose needs are not adequately served by the commercial housing market, or

(b) are starter homes within the meaning of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (see section 2 of that Act).

(4) “New dwelling” here means a building or part of a building that—

(a) has been constructed for use as a dwelling and has not previously been occupied, or

(b) has been adapted for use as a dwelling and has not been occupied since its adaptation.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend this section so as to modify the definition of “affordable housing”.”

(2) In section 333 of that Act (regulations and orders), after subsection (3) insert—

“(3ZA) No regulations may be made under section 106ZB unless a draft of the instrument containing the regulations has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.”” —(Brandon Lewis.)

The section inserted in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 by this new clause confers power to make affirmative-resolution regulations about obligations entered into under section 106 of that Act with regard to affordable housing, and defines “affordable housing” so as to include starter homes (see Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Bill).

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 241


New Clause 43

Processing of planning applications by alternative providers

‘(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for a planning application that falls to be determined by a specified local planning authority in England to be processed, if the applicant so chooses, not by that authority but by a designated person.

(2) The regulations must provide that the option to have a planning application processed by a designated person—

(a) does not affect a local planning authority’s responsibility for determining planning applications, and

(b) applies only until a specified date.

(3) The regulations may provide that—

(a) they apply only to planning applications for development of a specified description;

(b) designations of persons by the Secretary of State (see subsection (7)) may be made so as to apply only in relation to planning applications for development of a specified description.

(4) The regulations may—

(a) apply or disapply, in relation to England, any enactment about planning;

(b) modify the effect of any such enactment in relation to England.

(5) Sections (Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): general) to (Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): information), which set out matters that may be included in regulations under this section, do not limit the power in section 142(5) (to make supplementary provision etc).

(6) For the purposes of this group of sections (that is, this section and sections (Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): general) to (Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): information)), processing a planning application means taking any action in relation to the application (other than determining it) of a kind that—

(a) might otherwise be taken by or for the responsible planning authority, and

(b) is specified in the regulations.

(7) In this group of sections “designated person” means a person—

(a) who is designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with the regulations, and

(b) whose designation has not been withdrawn in accordance with the regulations.

The Secretary of State may designate a local planning authority.

(8) In this group of sections—

“local planning authority” has the same meaning as in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;

“planning application” means an application for planning permission under Part 3 of that Act;

“responsible planning authority”, in relation to a planning application, means the local planning authority responsible for determining the application;

“specified” means specified in regulations under this section.” —(Brandon Lewis.)

This new clause would give the Secretary of State the power, by regulations, to introduce pilot schemes for competition in the processing (but not the determining) of applications for planning permission.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 242

New Clause 44

Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): general

‘(1) Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers) may make provision—

(a) requiring a designated person to process a planning application, except in specified circumstances, if chosen to do so by an applicant;

(b) allowing a responsible planning authority to take over the processing of a planning application from a designated person in specified circumstances.

(2) The regulations may make provision about—

(a) eligibility to act as a designated person;

(b) the capacity of a local planning authority to act as a designated person;

(c) actions to be taken or procedures to be followed—

(i) by persons making planning applications,

(ii) by designated persons, or

(iii) by responsible planning authorities,

and periods within which the actions or procedures are to be taken or followed;

(d) matters to be considered by designated persons or responsible planning authorities;

(e) performance standards for designated persons;

(f) the investigation of complaints or concerns about designated persons;

(g) the circumstances in which, and the extent to which, any advice provided by a designated person to a person making a planning application is binding—

(i) on the responsible planning authority, or

(ii) on designated persons other than the one providing the advice;

(h) cases where a person ceases to be a designated person or where a designated person is unable to continue processing a planning application.

(3) The provision that may be made under subsection (2)(c) includes provision requiring a designated person to provide assistance to the responsible planning authority in connection with—

(a) any appeal against the authority’s determination of the application;

(b) any application to the court made in relation to that determination.

(4) The provision that may be made under subsection (2)(f) includes—

(a) provision about the payment of compensation;

(b) provision for a designated person to be required to indemnify the responsible authority for any compensation that the authority is required to pay;

(c) provision applying anything in Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974 (local government administration) with or without modifications.

(5) The regulations may confer powers on the Mayor of London or the Secretary of State in cases where a direction is given under section 2A or 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“call-in” directions).”—(Brandon Lewis.)

This new clause provides that regulations under NC43 may provide for various matters including the actions and procedures to be followed during the pilot schemes, the eligibility of persons to act as designated persons, the setting of performance standards, and how conflicts of interest and the investigation of complaints are dealt with.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 243

New Clause 45

Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): fees and payments

‘(1) Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers) may make provision about—

(a) the setting, publication and charging of fees by designated persons or responsible planning authorities;

(b) the refunding of fees, by designated persons or responsible planning authorities, in specified circumstances.

(2) The provision that may be made under subsection (1)(a) includes provision giving power to the Secretary of State to prevent the charging of fees that he or she considers excessive.

(3) The provision that may be made under subsection (1)(b) includes provision requiring a designated person or a responsible planning authority to refund to an applicant some or all of a fee paid by the applicant to a designated person where the person or the authority fails to do a particular thing within a specified period.

(4) The regulations may authorise the making of payments by the Secretary of State to local planning authorities or designated persons.” —(Brandon Lewis.)

This new clause provides that regulations under NC43 may include provision for the setting, publishing and charging of fees by designated persons and planning authorities in pilot areas, and for the refunding of fees; it also includes power for the Secretary of State to intervene in relation to excessive fees.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 46

Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers): information

‘(1) Regulations under section (Processing of planning applications by alternative providers) may make provision—

(a) requiring responsible planning authorities to disclose information to designated persons;

(b) requiring designated persons to disclose information to responsible planning authorities or to other designated persons;

(c) restricting the uses to which information disclosed by virtue of paragraph (a) or (b) may be put;

(d) restricting further disclosure of such information.

(2) The regulations may make provision for designated persons or responsible planning authorities to be required to provide information to the Secretary of State.”—

(Brandon Lewis.)

This new clause provides that regulations under NC43 may provide for information-sharing (about, for example, the planning history for land to which an application relates), may restrict uses to which shared information may be put, and may require information to be provided to the Secretary of State.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 57

Planning obligations: local first-time buyers

‘(1) After section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (planning obligations) insert—

“106ZA Planning obligations in respect of local first-time buyers

(1) When granting planning permission under 70(1)(a), or permission in principle under 70(1A)(a), for the construction of new dwellings for sale, the local planning authority may require that a proportion of the dwellings are marketed exclusively to local first-time buyers for a specified period.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 244

(2) The “specified period” in subsection (1) must start no earlier than six months before the new dwellings have achieved, or are likely to, practical completion.

(3) “First-time buyer” in subsection (1) has the meaning given by section 57AA(2) of the Finance Act 2003.

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations—

(a) define the “specified period” in subsection (1),

(b) define “local” in subsection (1), and

(c) the definition “local” may vary according to specified circumstances.

(5) The regulations in subsection (4) so far as they apply to local planning authorities in Greater London will not apply to these authorities unless the Secretary of State has consulted and received the consent of the Greater London Authority.”” —

(Dr Blackman-Woods.)

This new clause would empower local planning authorities to impose a planning obligation when giving planning permission for the construction of new housing for sale requiring that a proportion of the housing is marketed exclusively to local first time buyers.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The Committee divided:

Ayes 72, Noes 277.

Division No. 156]

[

1.45 am

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Buck, Ms Karen

Burgon, Richard

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Coyle, Neil

Creasy, Stella

Danczuk, Simon

Dowd, Peter

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Tom

Farrelly, Paul

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Green, Kate

Griffith, Nia

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Healey, rh John

Hussain, Imran

Jarvis, Dan

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinahan, Danny

Kyle, Peter

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Madders, Justin

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

McGinn, Conor

McInnes, Liz

McMahon, Jim

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Murray, Ian

Onn, Melanie

Osamor, Kate

Owen, Albert

Pennycook, Matthew

Phillips, Jess

Rayner, Angela

Rimmer, Marie

Saville Roberts, Liz

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, Cat

Starmer, Keir

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Tami, Mark

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Turley, Anna

West, Catherine

Williams, Mr Mark

Winnick, Mr David

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sue Hayman

and

Jeff Smith

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Allan, Lucy

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Cleverly, James

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duddridge, James

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hall, Luke

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hurd, Mr Nick

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Parish, Neil

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Smyth, Karin

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

Question accordingly negatived.

5 Jan 2016 : Column 245

5 Jan 2016 : Column 246

5 Jan 2016 : Column 247


New Schedule 4

“SCHEDULE

Resolution of disputes about planning obligations: Schedule to be inserted in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

 

“SCHEDULE 9A

Section 106ZA

Resolution of disputes about planning obligations

Appointment of person to help resolve disputes

1 (1) This paragraph applies where—

(a) a person (“the applicant”) has made an application for planning permission or an application of a prescribed description (“the application”) to a local planning authority in England,

(b) there are unresolved issues regarding what should be the terms of any section 106 instrument, and

(c) any prescribed conditions are met.

(2) The Secretary of State must (subject to sub-paragraphs (6) to (8)) appoint a person to help with the resolution of the unresolved issues if—

(a) the Secretary of State thinks that the local planning authority would be likely to grant the application if satisfactory planning obligations were entered into, but not otherwise, and

(b) sub-paragraph (3), (4) or (5) applies.

(3) This sub-paragraph applies where the applicant or the authority requests the Secretary of State to make an appointment.

(4) This sub-paragraph applies where—

(a) a person of a prescribed description requests the Secretary of State to make an appointment, and

(b) any prescribed requirements as to the consent of the applicant or the authority are satisfied.

(5) This sub-paragraph applies where—

(a) regulations require an appointment to be made, in prescribed circumstances, if the unresolved issues have not been resolved by the end of a prescribed period,

(b) the circumstances are as prescribed, and

(c) the unresolved issues have not been resolved by the end of that period.

(6) The Secretary of State may decline to make an appointment in prescribed circumstances.

(7) Regulations must provide that—

(a) no appointment is to be made under this paragraph before the end of a prescribed period;

(b) no appointment is to be made in response to a request under sub-paragraph (3) or (4) if the request is withdrawn before the end of that period.

(8) No request may be made under sub-paragraph (3) or (4), and sub-paragraph (5) does not apply—

(a) if the application has been referred to the Secretary of State under section 77;

(b) if the applicant has appealed to the Secretary of State under section 78(2) in respect of the application;

(c) if the applicant has made an application to the court, which has not been disposed of, in respect of it;

(d) in such other circumstances as may be prescribed.

Co-operation etc with person appointed under paragraph 1

2 Where a person is appointed under paragraph 1 the parties must—

(a) co-operate with the person;

(b) comply with any reasonable requests by the person to provide information or documents or to take part in meetings.