The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act arrives

On 26 October 2023, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill received royal assent and the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) is now soon to be published alongside an update to the National Planning Policy Framework, which is anticipated any day soon.

First introduced in May 2022, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill announced an array of new laws designed to speed up the planning system, hold developers to account and encourage the delivery of new homes. Since then, the bill has been discussed and debated will several amendments deliberated between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Whilst getting to the stage of royal assent is a major achievement, there are several aspects of the LURA that will be subject to secondary legislation and further discussion and consultation – this includes the sections related to plan-making and the introduction of new National Development Management Policies (NDMPs).  Those aspects of the LURA which do have a commencement timetable to them include provisions around the use of commencement and completion notices by local planning authorities to mandate developers to complete their projects, as well as the introduction of 'Environmental Outcomes Reports' to replace the current EIA/SEA regime.

With regard to the planning system, other key aspects of the LURA to follow will include:

  • The introduction of 'Section 73B' – a new power to amend planning permissions (including the description of development) in a manner that is not substantially different to the existing permission;
  • Raising the timeframe for councils to take enforcement action to 10 years for all types of breaches as opposed to the current four year time period for built development;
  • The introduction of an 'Infrastructure Levy' to replace CIL;
  • Speeding up of local plans to be completed in a 30 month timeframe, reducing their scope to locally specific matters (given the introduction of NDMPs), and removing the 'duty to cooperate' - with voluntary spatial strategies allowed to provide strategic direction;
  • Introducing the requirement for each local planning authority to have a design code in place to cover their entire area;
  • Allowing councils power to refuse planning applications on the basis of a developer's previous slow delivery history and build out rates; and
  • The introduction of 'Street Votes' to allow residents to propose development and hold a vote on whether permission should be given.

As the list above highlights there is lots more to come, and we will keep you updated on all aspects of the LURA as they unfold.

by Anita Ward
Associate Director
07562 695956