Posted On / 09.05.2017

Permissions in Principle

The Government has finally made the following secondary legislation giving effect to provisions in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 allowing permissions in principle to be granted ahead of any planning application being made:

The Planning Brownfield Land Register Regulations 2017 requires local authorities to maintain a register in two parts of previously developed land in their area. Local authorities must publish their register by the end of this year.

The Permission in Principle Order 2017 grants permission in principle for land allocated in Part 2 of the register.

The PIP Order relates to land entered onto the brownfield register for housing development and non housing development. But under the regulations, to be entered onto Part 2 of the register, the land must meet the following criteria:

  • Has an area of at least .25 hectares or is capable of supporting at least 5 dwellings
  • Is suitable for residential development
  • Is available for residential development
  • Residential development of the land is achievable

So in effect PIP can only be granted for housing led development.

The land can only be entered on Part 2 of the register if the local authority has decided to allocate the land for residential development after following procedures relating to publicity and notification and consultation. The local authority can decide to register land not meeting the minimum area requirement.

Permission in principle does not allow the development of the land but where PIP is granted an applicant may obtain planning permission by applying for technical details consent.

Comment: Whilst the Order appears to streamline the process for obtaining planning consent (by doing away with the need for outline consent) it does not circumvent completely planning controls. In particular in deciding whether land (which has not been allocated in a development plan) is “suitable” the local authority is to take into account impact on amenity and impact on the environment and any representations received. Also sites cannot be placed on the register if development of the site would be EIA development or development would be prohibited under the habitats legislation.

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