Autumn Statement 2011: More changes to the Planning System announced!

The Chancellor used his Autumn Statement to announce a further raft of changes to the Planning System, expected to come into effect over the next few months.....


dha planning has reviewed the changes likely to be of most interest to our clients:

A faster, more transparent appeals system?

A review will take place to make the appeals system “faster and more transparent”, to improve consistency, and to increase certainty of decision timescales.  Although proposals are due to be brought into effect by Summer 2012, no further details are available at present. 

Renegotiation of S106 agreements to be made easier?

The Government has announced it will consult on proposals to allow certain planning obligations to be reconsidered.  It will be proposed to allow the reconsideration of planning obligations which were agreed before April 2010 where the development has stalled.  Currently, whilst developers may agree changes, local authorities are not obliged to reconsider agreements until five years after they are signed.  

Statutory consultees told to improve their performance

The Government says it will improve the performance of statutory consultees in responding swiftly to applications by ensuring that key consultees bring forward an improvement plan by Spring 2012.

A more effective mechanism will also be brought into effect to enable applicants to obtain an award of appeal costs in cases where a statutory consultee has acted unreasonably.  This will be brought into effect by Summer 2012.  Again no further details have been announced yet.

Highways and transport consents to be streamlined

The Government is considering processing stopping-up orders concurrently with planning applications, or even scrapping the need for the orders where planning permission exists, in order to help save developers time.  Stopping up orders are required where highways need to be closed to enable developments to take place.

Sweeping changes proposed for listed buildings and conservation areas

The Government is considering major changes which might include specifying the extent of a listed building’s special interest, removing a requirement for listed building consent on other parts of the building.  Other potential changes include allowing developers to seek a 5-year certificate of immunity from listing at any time (rather than only after a planning application has been made) and also possibly removing the need for conservation area consent to demolish unlisted buildings.  The Government will hold a consultation exercise before any changes are brought into effect. 


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