Neighbourhood Planning Bill gets second reading

October 10, 2016 / Isla MacFarlane
Neighbourhood Planning Bill gets second reading

MPs debated the Second Reading of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill in the House of Commons on 10 October.

Ahead of the debate, the CLA said that changes to further reform the planning and compulsory purchase systems are essential to ensure a viable future for the rural economy.

The organisation said that without changes the Bill has the potential to impose unnecessary costs on those looking to diversify their rural business, and further weight the balance of compulsory purchase in favour of those acquiring land.

“The Bill is a welcome opportunity to reform both the planning and compulsory purchase systems to ensure that farmers and landowners have the best opportunity to help the rural economy thrive and grow,” said CLA President Ross Murray said. “However, without changes the Bill will add unnecessary costs to planning applications and fail to address the imbalance of compulsory purchase in favour of acquiring authorities.

“We want to see changes which make it easier to deliver important development in rural areas and ensure those losing land temporarily for infrastructure projects have the same rights to payment as those losing land permanently.”

The CLA wants to make sure that the Government makes it possible to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate only in relation to pre-commencement conditions. These are planning conditions which prevent any development with planning permission from taking place until detailed aspects of the development have been approved and the condition has been fulfilled by the applicant.

Currently, if a farmer or landowner disagrees with a pre-commencement condition imposed by the local authority the appeal can lead to the entire application being re-examined.

The CLA said the government should ensure that authorities only acquire the minimum amount of land required to deliver a project, and be clear about whether this land is required temporarily or permanently.

It is also pressuring the government to guarantee that farmers and landowners are able to seek compensation if the land they lose via compulsory purchase is then used for a different purpose at a later date.

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