The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 and The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017

Posted on 27 March 2017 (Permalink)

Following the Housing and Planning Act 2016, two Statutory Instruments laying down regulations and orders for “brownfield registers” and “permission in principle”, were published on 23rd March, coming into force in mid-April. These set out the procedures and requirements for Local Authorities when complying with the new legal requirement to register  90% of Brownfield Land suitable for housing by 2020. They also set out the mechanisms through which sites allocated in the brownfield register (as well sites in local plans and on individual application) can be granted “permission in principle” and subsequent “technical details consent” (PiP+TD).

PiP + TD is an additional route, rather than a replacement, for obtaining planning permission on a site for housing-led development. It is intended to give more certainty earlier on in the planning process as to whether permission will be granted, than existing routes.  

The main difference is that once PiP is granted, the principle of development cannot be revisited at the Technical Details Consent (TDC) stage, which Government say can technically still be debated through the existing outline application + reserved matters application process and subsequently delay delivery. Readers can be forgiven for finding the regulations themselves hard to navigate. For example, in deciding what can be taken into account at the TDC stage the regulations state that TDC should be considered as if it were to be assessed as with a traditional planning application - and so nothing “cut out” of the process. This does beg the question how the time in the planning process will be saved other than reducing the time period allowed for determination. Whilst this is more a concern for local planning authorities, neighbourhood forums / parish or town councils (aka “qualifying bodies”) should be aware of this new route as it may well be small to medium sites that become the subject of these applications and discussion of technical details will more than likely include areas like design, impact on amenity, tress, ecology, highways, etc.

As for the brownfield register, there may be sites allocated in neighbourhood plans that qualify for inclusion on a local authority’s register. In order for a site to be entered into the register the planning authority must indicate a minimum and maximum number of units that could be granted on the site, which is a discussion that qualifying bodies may also wish to be involved in.

Over the next 12 months we can expect more clarity as decisions are made and case law begins to emerge.