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Queen’s speech: planning reforms to be tackled via Levelling up Bill

16 May 2022

This year’s Queen’s Speech has outlined several legislative changes and the overhauling of laws around levelling up, planning and economic crime that could affect conveyancers.

At the state opening of Parliament last week, Prince Charles delivered the Queen’s speech as the monarch missed the opening for the first time in almost 60 years as she continues to experience “mobility problems”.

On 16 May 2022 Today’s Conveyancer summarised some of the 38 areas of focus that will be relevant to those in the conveyancing industry, including:

  • Levelling up and Regeneration Bill
  • Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill
  • Non-Domestic Rating Bill
  • Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill

Senior Associate, Jonathan Allen, commented on Planning Reforms as follows:

“In summary… underwhelming.

Despite fanfare on wholesale reform of the planning system, pushback from backbenchers means that most major proposals have either been removed entirely or lack detail to such a level as to be meaningless.

A prime example are the proposals on a national infrastructure levy. Beyond setting out that the levy will be ‘locally set’ and ‘non-negotiable’, there is no suggestion that the government has an answer to the difficult questions of how such a scheme would work in practice.

For example, how will a standardised levy make development viable in economically deprived or brownfield sites? How will it fairly assess the increased infrastructure needs of larger sites? Or the complicated needs of city centre developments? How will it secure affordable housing and local allocation rights?  How will it deal with viability issues on stalled sites?

Everybody knows the s.106 process can be infuriatingly slow for developers, but the truth is that successive governments have failed to come up with a suitable alternative replacement. They don’t seem to have the answer yet.

At the same time, they have failed to deal with the fundamental issue of local planning authorities resourcing issues. Until this is addressed, the reality is timescales for decisions are only likely to go one way.”

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Jonathan Allen


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