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Great expectations for permission in principle

Owners of brownfield sites looking to bring forward housing-led development could be given permission in principle (PiP) after new planning legislation came into force, according to Ashford-based Hobbs Parker Property Consultants.

With the previous Government on a mission to increase the supply of new homes, the rules provide automatic PiP for housing-led development on land included in new brownfield registers. These registers must be maintained and published by each local authority within a year.

Jane Scott, Senior Planner at Hobbs Parker Property Consultants, said: “This legislation is potentially good news for those landowners, developers and house builders looking to bring forward qualifying small sites.”

“It should provide greater certainty that there is an acceptance of the fundamental case for development before getting into time-consuming, technical reports and planning applications.

“Given the cross-party political support to build many more new homes we don’t expect any changes to the legislation regardless of the outcome of the General Election.”

As well as granting a PiP for sites on the brownfield register, it’s understood provisional consent would be given to those prescribed in a development order, including: Development Plan document; Neighbourhood development document or plan; Local Plan.

If the site is currently unallocated as brownfield, an application can be made to the local planning authority to secure status in order to start the PiP process.

The aim is to separate planning decision-making on issues such as land use, location and amount of residential development, from matters of technical detail, in order to speed up delivery of new housing.

This is consistent with the previous Government’s commitment to using brownfield land first and preserving the politically sensitive Green Belt. Each site must be more than 0.25 hectares in size and large enough to accommodate five homes.

It will be judged on suitability, availability and achievability in terms of the delivery of housing.

The Government is expected to publish further guidance to support the introduction of brownfield registers and PiP by June.

How does a site qualify to be on a Brownfield Register?

Previously developed sites will be eligible for the local Brownfield Register if they meet the following criteria:

  • 0.25hectares or larger, or capable of supporting at least five dwellings
  • Suitable for residential development
  • Available for residential development in terms of ownership
  • Residential development is achievable on the site within 15 years

Not all brownfield sites will automatically be included in the registers. These include those sites that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment and therefore require a Schedule 1 or 2 Environmental Impact Assessment.

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