Planning changes "devil is in the detail" says Malcolm Scott Consultants planner.

The Government is still committed to safeguarding the Green Belt and inappropriate development will not be allowed unless very special circumstances apply, Malcolm Scott Consultants planner Chris Primet has said following the changes to the planning regime announced by ministers.

The Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Eric Pickles released a statement on 6 September on proposed changes to some of the planning regulations.

Malcolm Scott Consultants planner Chris Primet said: "As with all Government announcements the devil is in the detail when it comes to implementing at the local level. The details are to be put out to consultation over the next few months. These are 10 key points about dealing with the changes."

  • the Government will "encourage" Councils to permit reuse of previously developed land in the Green Belt if it is for a more "productive" use;
  • Local Planning Authorities are encouraged to alter Green Belt boundaries to enable development to take place to reflect local circumstances;
  • the Government will bring forward legislation to increase the limits under permitted development rights on how big extensions can be to homes and businesses in "non-protected areas";
  • the change of use of empty commercial buildings to residential will be encouraged provided that the Local Planning Authority agrees (a Council can seek a local exemption where they believe there will be an adverse impact on their area);
  • the government will seek to accelerate the delivery of housing provided that it has the support of the local community and where there is a proven "strong" demand for it;
  • where Local Planning Authorities perform poorly in terms of determining planning applications the Planning Inspectorate can decide the application;
  • the Planning Inspectorate will be given more power to initiate an award of costs in planning appeal proceedings where it is clear that an application has not been handled as it should have been by the Local Planning Authority "with due process";
  • an extension of 1 more year to the time limit on when planning consents run out;
  • new legislation will be introduced in early 2013 to allow developers to re-negotiate "non-viable" Section 106 Agreements which were entered into before April 2010.

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