The Housing and Planning Act, as it is now called, gained Royal Assent yesterday (12 May). It introduces a range of changes to the planning system, including introducing 'permission in principle' – an automatic consent for building on sites identified in local and neighbourhood plans and new brownfield registers.
Further provisions would allow the secretary of state to intervene in local plan preparation and measures to boost self-build and custom-build housing.
The bill went through a period of parliamentary "ping-pong", with the House of Lords and House of Commons disagreeing over whether several amendments should be included in the final text.
Among them was an amendment requiring sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to be included in new developments, including small-scale developments, and removing the right to connect to existing drainage systems. It was intended to help protect home owners from flooding and improve amenity and biodiversity benefits to communities.
The House of Lords produced its amendments following extensive consultation and research by its National Policy for the Built Environment Committee, with Noel Farrer, president of the Landscape Institute, among those consulted.
The amendment was withdrawn following a government pledge to carry out a review of existing planning policy related to flooding.
Baroness Parminter, who originally put forward the amendment, said she was "disappointed" it had not passed.
But she thanked the Minister for the proposed review of flood policy, "which we believe will demonstrate all too clearly that...SuDS are not being delivered".
She called for the review to be robust, using a large sample of actual developments and to be delivered before the Climate Change Committee reports to Parliament next June.
Commentators have also speculated that more planning reforms to boost housing delivery are in store in next week's Queen Speech.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the property lobby group the British Property Federation, said: "The development industry has been waiting almost a year to find out how the starter homes initiative will work in practice, and it is good that we now have clarity."
But Leech added: "The fact that the regulations are still yet to be laid, however, casts into significant doubt whether the government will be able to achieve its promise of 200,000 homes by 2020.
"Spades are not likely to be in the ground until 2017 at the earliest, and time is certainly running out."
Leech went on to say that "speculation is rife that there may be more primary legislation to aimed at bringing forward development on the cards", with the aim of boosting housing supply.
*A version of this article first appeared on our sister website Planning Resource.