Plans to privatise the Land Registry have been quietly shelved while the National Infrastructure Commission went unmentioned,
The government has released the Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17. The measures in the Bill are designed to support more housebuilding and provide more local say over developments.
“We welcome the Neighbourhood Planning Bill including measures to simplify and speed up neighbourhood planning, the substantive package on compulsory purchase orders, simplified but effective pre-commencement conditions, and requirement to capture data on permitted development approvals,” said Stephen Wilkinson, RTPI Vice President said.
Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said, “We are pleased that the Government appears to have listened to our concerns about privatising the Land Registry. Councils want to work collaboratively with government to successfully transfer local land charges registers to the Land Registry. It is also imperative that any future reforms continue to guarantee the funding of any costs to councils associated with the transfer and ongoing supply of data to the Land Registry.
“However, we are surprised there is no mention of the National Infrastructure Commission. Councils see the establishment of a national body that will enable much more robust long-term strategic decision-making on the country’s infrastructure needs as a step in the right direction. We hope the Government remains fully committed to the need for such a body and one that recognises the vital role of local authorities in delivering infrastructure for a modern economy and all communities.
“Councils approve almost nine out of 10 planning applications and the number of homes granted planning permission by local authorities during 2015 was 253,000, the highest level since 2007. There is little evidence to suggest development is being delayed by planning conditions. Planning conditions provide a vital role, enabling planning permissions to go ahead which would otherwise be refused or delayed while the details are worked out. They can also save developers time and money as they do not need to invest in detailed submissions until the principle of the development is granted.
“Councils and the Government both share the same ambition to build more homes. Bold new action is needed to solve our housing crisis and a renaissance in house building by councils must be at the heart of this. If we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, councils must be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need now more than ever. Reforms to Compulsory Purchase Orders could also pave the way for councils to capture the value from increased land prices to invest in the vital infrastructure that boosts housebuilding and creates places that people want to live.”