Government response to planning application process improvements

Government response to planning application process improvements


Author: Sam Grange

The government has published a response to its consultation on improvements to the planning application process, the key outcome of which will be a consolidated version of the Development Management Procedure Order 2010.

In July 2014 the government launched a consultation on reforms to the planning system, including changes to:

  • the neighbourhood planning system introduced by the Localism Act 2011
  • permitted development rights
  • the use and discharge of planning conditions
  • the requirements for notification or statutory consultation with bodies such as Natural England, the Highways Agency and English Heritage
  • the thresholds for when an environmental impact assessment is required, and
  • improve the nationally significant infrastructure planning regime

The consultation closed at the end of September 2014 and the government has published its response to the various suites of suggested reforms in stages since November 2014.

The government's most recent response on improvements to the planning application process proposes to take forward a number of noteworthy measures, including:

  • measures aimed at clarifying the circumstances in which local planning authorities are required to consult with or notify Natural England, the Highways Agency and English Heritage in relation to planning applications. A requirement on local planning authorities to consult with the Garden History Society on listed building consent applications will also be carried forward
  • a requirement on local planning authorities to notify railway managers of all planning applications where any part of the development proposed is within 10 metres of the boundary of operational railway land. A voluntary 'opt out' for railway managers will apply where the development comprises 'minor works' that do not substantially affect railway infrastructure and where development is proposed in certain specified areas. This opt out will be taken forward in place of a long list of centrally prescribed national exemptions
  • measures to consolidate the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010. A revised Order will be issued in due course

The only response which remains outstanding is that relating to permitted development rights. The timetable for publication is not known, however, it's anticipated that the government will set out the reforms it proposes to take forward before the forthcoming general election.


This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

About the Author

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Sam Grange

Senior Associate

03700 86 5697

Samantha is an experienced planning lawyer providing public sector organisations, including local planning authorities, and private developers with advice on all aspects of planning law (with a particular expertise in the renewable energy sector), highways related matters, and the law relating to compulsory purchase orders and compensation where such orders underpin large-scale town centre and regeneration schemes.

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