Levelling-up Bill receives Royal Assent. David Jones from Evans Jones
The Levelling-up and Regeneration Act (LURA) has received Royal Ascent and became law as of October 26.
The stated aims of this new Act, as outlined by Michael Gove MP, include revitalising high streets and town centres, streamlining the planning system, promoting beautiful homes with essential amenities, giving communities more control and enforcing long-term levelling-up missions.
Key measures introduced by the LURA include the requirement for local authorities to implement Design Codes, a new Infrastructure Levy and streamlining Local Plans to area specific matters, coupled with the introduction of National Development Management Policies (NDMPs).
Other key changes proposed include focusing on climate change, extending the enforcement period for all breaches of planning control to 10 years, giving local authorities the ability to refuse permission based on developers' slow implementation, the introduction of Street Votes for residents to suggest new development in a neighbourhood, digitising planning processes and further strengthening devolution.
On the high street, the LURA introduces the power to hold auctions for vacant high street properties.
Despite the LURA attaining Royal Ascent, many of the measures contained in the Act require additional regulation and guidance. Further consultations, technical adjustments and legislation are expected in the coming months, including the long-awaited revision of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
David Jones, MD of Evans Jones Ltd, said: "In his introduction to the Act, Michael Gove MP, secretary of state for Levelling Up, housing and communities, said: 'Our landmark Levelling-up and Regeneration Act will deliver more homes for communities across the country and unleash levelling up in left-behind places.'
"Regrettably, I can see nothing within the Act which delivers upon these objectives. Reforms to plan making will take years to implement and the impending changes to the NPPF removing the requirement for local authorities to maintain a five-year supply of housing land will slow housing delivery in many areas.
"As to street votes, every indicator confirms that the settled community don't want change and don't want new housing. In my wildest dreams, I cannot envisage residents in any street voting to support new housing development.
"As to the other changes contained in the 534-page bill, I really fail to see how this will 'unleash levelling up' in a way which will generate the growth so much needed across the country.
"The LURA measures appear to favour restrictions on development, rather than planning for growth and meaningful regulatory reform, fuelling suspicions that the Government are preparing the ground for a future election and continue to pander to those who resist development within government, seeking to protect marginal seats in Conservative constituencies.
"I recommend that stakeholders remain vigilant and participate in future consultations, as further regulation and guidance unfolds. Our Planning Team will continue to monitor and comment upon policy and regularity changes as they unfold in the coming months."
Evans Jones is a multi-disciplinary property consultancy, comprising chartered planning consultants, building surveyors, project managers and disabled access specialists.
For more information, go to https://www.evansjones.co.uk or call 0800 001 4090.
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