A new requirement for councils to notify neighbourhood planning groups in the “advanced” stage of developing a neighbourhood plan of any upcoming planning applications which could impact on the emerging plan are due to come into force in January.

An explanatory memorandum on regulations laid before Parliament today, intended to enact measures in the Neighbourhood Planning Act, say that the requirement will ensure “beyond doubt that qualifying bodies will be aware of future planning applications in their area”.

“Local planning authorities must automatically notify qualifying bodies of any future planning applications or alterations to those applications in the relevant neighbourhood area where there is an advanced neighbourhood plan and the qualifying body has not confirmed in writing to the local planning authority that it does not wish to be notified”, the notes say.

The notes explain that the regulations also implement the new “streamlined procedure for the modification of a neighbourhood development plan”.

This procedure applies where a proposed modification to a plan which is already in force “would materially affect the policies in the plan, but would not be so significant or substantial as to change the nature of a plan”, the notes say.

They say that the main differences between the existing modification procedure and new procedure introduced is that under the new procedure, once the modifications have been considered by an independent examiner, his or her recommendations “will, in most cases, be binding and there will be no referendum before a modified plan comes into legal force”.

The measures come into effect on January 31.

Separate regulations, also published today, will give the secretary of state power to direct neighbouring councils to create a joint development plan and to allow county councils to create a strategic plan in areas where “districts are failing to cooperate effectively”.

Source: Michael Donnelly, Planning Resource, 13 December 2017

Local Comment:  Wirral Council already informs the Forum of planning applications lodged within the Birkenhead and Tranmere Neighbourhood Area.  If any member wishes to join our Planning Applications Workgroup and contribute towards the Forum’s consultation responses, please contact me at chair@batnpf.org – Philip Barton