Planning regulations — a return to local time

By Paul Tucker QC and Martin Carter

Behind the oft-trumpeted façade of the Localism Agenda, the government has introduced a quiet but seemingly highly successful revolution in the preparation of development plans, just at the time that the National Planning Policy Framework provides a clear incentive for local authorities to rapidly adopt development plan documents (DPDs).

The headline was the revocation of regional spatial strategies and the supposed devolving of power back to local planning authorities to shape their districts. But behind it, the government has made it much easier to prepare development plans as a result of the introduction of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012 No. 767).

The 2012 regulations have quietly introduced two important reforms that have facilitated the current upsurge in development plan preparation…

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