Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Posted: 9 January 2023

The future planning system framed by the bill is based around five principles: beauty, infrastructure, democracy, environment, and neighbourhood democracy.

The bill is now at Report stage, the first sitting was on 23 November, but the second sitting has been delayed. Further amendments to the bill were published in November, including those put forward by Michael Gove MP, the new Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities. These amendments include:

  • powers for community land auctions, meaning local authorities can capture the value of land allocated for development
  • ‘street votes’ as a part of the traditional planning process to allow neighbours to vote on whether planning permission should be given for developments such as house extensions on the street
  • a requirement for developers to report annually on build out rates for housing permissions.

The bill already allows councils to apply a council tax premium of up to 100 per cent on empty and second homes in areas. But given concerns that local residents may be forced out of the market by short term lets, the government is also considering establishing a registration scheme for these properties and will also consult on whether planning permission should be required for new short term lets, especially in tourist hotspots.

The Secretary of State has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a market study on housebuilding to ensure the market is truly competitive and working in the interests of consumers. Financial penalties for companies failing to deliver housing despite having planning approval is also under consideration, for which councils would be given powers to refuse further permission for these developers across their area.

The Secretary of State has also asked the Law Commission to review the current laws on compulsory purchase, examining the consolidation and modernisation of the law that would be required. This follows an earlier commitment for the compulsory purchase process to be made faster and fairer for local authorities.