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Tim Baines is counsel in the London environmental and planning team of Mayer Brown. Tim has a particular interest and background in advising companies and financial institutions in the real estate, energy and sustainability sectors. He has considerable knowledge of UK planning and environmental regimes, renewables incentives regimes, and emissions and climate-related matters.

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Last week the UK Government published its long-awaited proposals for reform of the planning system in England and Wales, in the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.

Back in June 2020, radical reforms to the planning system were proposed, including introducing zoning and deemed planning permission in designated growth areas.  Despite the abandonment of these far-reaching reforms, the proposals set out in the Bill, are significant.  The main changes are as follows.

Central Government will take a much greater role in planning

This will be achieved by the introduction of a new suite of National Development Management Policies which will set out generic planning policies applicable across the country.  Local Plans will be expected to restrict themselves to purely local issues.  The expectation is that this will provide greater consistency in decision-making and help with the speedy production of up-to-date Local Plans.  This is backed by a new statutory provision to the effect that applications are to be determined in accordance with the Local Plan and National Development Management Policies and if there is a conflict between the two, national policies will prevail.

This is a significant cultural shift from the position to date under which locally-determined policies should prevail.  There is also some scepticism about the production of a whole new suite of national policies: is this a return to the days of PPGs which were swept away on the grounds that these were too unwieldy and bureaucratic?

Continue Reading Levelling Up and Planning Reform

Overview
The Government is introducing sweeping changes to the planning system in England, with a view to cutting down on bureaucracy and letting the market decide what we use our buildings for, as well as facilitating much needed housing development. The changes are both medium term and immediate. In this Alert, we focus on the

Much has been written about the sweeping changes the Government is introducing to extend permitted development rights and limit the need to obtain planning permission for changes of use.

But on 2 September 2020 Mr Justice Holgate ordered that an application for leave for judicial review challenging these new laws would be heard on 8

Although it is uncertain what the likely long-term impacts of the pandemic on the development industry will be, the short-term impacts are clearly significant.

The real estate development industry is looking to the Government for immediate relief in the following areas::

  • automatic extension of the deadline for commencement of development under planning permissions;
  • the introduction