Ministers have said in Parliament that the Government will put in place “transitional arrangements that advantage plan making” to reflect the fact that the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is about putting local communities in control of planning.
That was highlighted by Communities Minister Baroness Hanham during the seventh and final day of the Report Stage of the Localism Bill in the Lords. Its Third Reading in the Upper House is now scheduled for 31 October.
The minister pointed out that the consultation period on the draft NPPF ended on 17 October. She said: “Any transitional measures will be more appropriately delivered through policy or guidance rather than legislation.”
She added: “The draft NPPF offers councils the opportunity to seek certificate of conformity with national policy, which will help them identify which of their existing local policies are consistent with the national planning policy framework.
“We actually expect that many elements of local plans will already conform with the direction of that because the policy framework in fact reflects all the guidance and planning policy statements.”
During the same Parliamentary session her ministerial colleague Lord Atlee reassured peers that the wording of the legislation “does not require greater consideration to be given to local finance considerations than to any other material consideration. The decision-maker retains the discretion to determine the weight to be attached, subject ultimately to the supervision of the court”.
He told the Lords: “I can categorically confirm that the Government are in no doubt that the clause as drafted does not represent any change in the current law whatever. It is declaratory of the current law, which is that where local financial considerations are material to a planning application they should be taken into account in the determination of that planning application.”
20 October 2011