Issue - meetings
Planning Reform Update
Report of the Director of Planning and Development (enclosed).
Zoe Whiteside, Service Lead for Spatial Planning (Chorley Council) presented the report which provided an update on the reforms to national planning policy.
The report outlined the key changes which included proposals requiring local authorities to zone land into Growth, Renewal and Protection categories, ending the use of Section 106 agreements (and replacing with national infrastructure levy), the creation of new and more simple local plans, a fast track system for ‘beautiful buildings’, requirement for all new build homes being ‘zero carbon ready’ and the introduction of Design Codes.
Members noted that the Queen’s speech on 11 May 2021 outlined plans for the forthcoming Planning Bill which aimed to create a simpler, faster and more modern planning system. The purpose, main benefits and main elements of the Bill were outlined in the report as well as providing a series of key facts. In light of this, officers were working to ‘future-proof’ the emerging Local Plan to ensure that no work is abortive and ensure that the plan can progress smoothly.
Members also noted that binding environmental targets within the Environment Bill will also impact on planning policy, with the mandating of ‘biodiversity net gain’ (BNG) to the value of now less than 10% and developers required to produce a BNG plan for their proposals and Councils will be required to maintain a Biodiversity gain register. It was proposed that a session be held for JAC members at a future meeting on the details of the BNG.
The Committee welcomed the BNG but queried whether the three authorities have the capacity to ensure this takes place. In terms of resourcing, this would be a statutory requirement and therefore the council’s would be expected to make arrangements. With regards to the Local Plan officers were already engaged at a Lancashire level and meeting regularly to look at Local Nature Recovery Strategies and ensuring the land is available within Lancashire to meet the BNG targets.
Following queries regarding the percentage split of the Affordable Housing, Members were advised that there was local discretion on this through the core strategy, and as long as minimum of 25% first homes is adhered to, the remainder of the split (shared ownership/social rent) is down local authority discretion and local policy.
Decision – That the report be noted.