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LURA Condensed: An attempt to summarise most of the planning provisions in the Levelling-Up & Regeneration Act.

Apologies if I have been a little bit quiet of late… I have been attempting to condense most of the planning sections of the Levelling-Up & Regeneration Act 2023 into something a little more easily digestible. 

A copy of the completed note can be downloaded from the link below. Huge thanks to my trainee, Anastasia, for all of her help in preparing it. We did not manage to cover everything - in particular Parts 8 and 9 of the Act have been left for another day - but it is relatively comprehensive.

As this is a fairly short post, the executive summary is reposted below. 

The normal news service will resume after several strong coffees and once my legislation-induced headache has died down. 

Executive Summary
The Act is a framework for significant and wide-ranging changes that will impact almost every aspect of the English planning system.

It enables the Government to work towards a more uniform digital planning system, through the imposition of data standards, common IT systems and the standardisation of how both local plans and planning applications are presented. We do not know when these reforms might take place or the shape of them, but if this comes forward it will necessitate changes in how planning applications are prepared and submitted.

The changes to planning enforcement and the new regime for monitoring build out rates are significant and may impact on the way new schemes are planned for and built out. There is likely to be a need to be very transparent with local planning authorities about external or market forces that are impacting on a developer’s ability to complete or build out a particular project. It would be sensible to seek to formally regularise any schemes which benefit from immunity under the ‘four-year rule’ now – as the Act will remove the four-year immunity period for operational development, and conversions to residential use, at some point in the future.

National Development Management Policies also represent a significant shift to the current system, as they will automatically be imported into all local plans in England and would take priority over any conflicting local plan policies in those plans. When combined with the new system for preparing local plans, this could significantly change the planning policy landscape in England moving forward.

The upgrading of wastewater treatment facilities, to remove nutrient pollution at source, is a vital step towards removing nutrient neutrality restrictions on new developments in large parts of England, although it will take some time for the impact of these upgrades to be felt – as the statutory upgrade date is not until 2030.

Most of the changes set out in the note do not have a timetable for coming into force and many, such as the introduction to Environmental Outcome Reports and the Infrastructure Levy, will require additional consultation, including on the text of the regulations themselves, before they are adopted.

As such, close attention will need to be paid to the details of the new system as it emerges over time.

Click here to download the Levelling-Up & Regeneration Act Planning Summary. If you struggle to download the document, please contact me.