The first property bill of Theresa May’s new government, the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which was formerly known as the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, has emerged in much diluted form.
The Bill was initially due to be released prior to parliament’s summer recess, but was hit by the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
Among the amendments are the strengthening of neighbourhood plans and new compulsory purchase powers, while the privatisation of the Land Registry and the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission were also put on hold.
A second reading of the bill will take place on October 10.
The Bill will aim to give more weigh to neighbourhood plane earlier on in the planning process, encouraging community participation and ensuring that they have influence.
Even if the plans are yet to be ratified, they will be taken into account, thus giving them extra weight. It will also increase the flexibility of plans, allowing existing plans to be changed, authorities to intervene more easily, and for sub-plans by communities within broader neighbourhood plans.
James Bainbridge, head of planning and development at Carter Jonas, said: “The majority of neighbourhood plans to date have focused on stopping development rather than promoting it.
“Neighbourhoods as they are defined often don’t have the ability to see the bigger picture to deliver the scale of infrastructure that is required.”
CPO regulations will be simplified to be fairer, clearer, and faster, with the government saying that the process can currently be complex and uncertain.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, commented that the measures to improve the CPO system are especially important as they will help to bring about infrastructure projects more quickly and efficiently.
She added that these schemes are crucial for attracting inward investment and acting as a catalyst for regeneration schemes.