House of Commons - Explanatory Note
House of Commons
Session 2002 - 03
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Planning And Compulsory Purchase Bill


These notes refer to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 4th December 2002 [Bill 12]




1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 4 December 2002. They have been prepared by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in order to assist the reader of the Bill and help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

3.     The Bill extends only to England and Wales.


4.     The purpose of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill is to speed up the planning system. The provisions introduce powers which allow for the reform and speeding up of the plans system and an increase in the predictability of planning decisions, the speeding up of the handling of major infrastructure projects and the need for simplified planning zones to be identified in the strategic plan for a region or in relation to Wales. The Bill also provides for a number of urgent reforms to make the handling of planning applications both by central government and local authorities quicker and more efficient. The provisions relating to compulsory purchase powers and compensation will liberalise the compulsory purchase and compensation regimes. They support policies relating to investment in major infrastructure and regeneration.


5.     The aim of the Bill is to give effect to the Government's policy on the reform of the planning system, the principal features of which were set out in the policy statement Sustainable Communities - Delivering through Planning which was published in July 2002. That paper took forward proposals that were outlined in the Green Paper Planning: Delivering a Fundamental Change, published in December 2001. The policy on reform of the compulsory purchase system was set out in the Green Paper daughter document Compulsory Purchase and Compensation: delivering a fundamental change published in December 2001 and confirmed in the policy statement Compulsory Purchase Powers, Procedures and Compensation: the way forward published in July 2002.

6.     In relation to Wales, planning is an area in respect of which functions are devolved to the National Assembly for Wales. The Assembly Government published its own consultation paper: Planning Delivering for Wales in January 2002. The Bill gives effect to the Assembly Government's policy, formulated in the light of responses to the consultation document, as announced by the Assembly Minister for Environment in November 2002.


7.     The Bill consists of 8 parts. These are:

  • Part 1 - Regional Functions

  • Part 2 - Local Development

  • Part 3 - Development

  • Part 4 - Development Control

  • Part 5 - Correction of Errors

  • Part 6 - Wales

  • Part 7 - Compulsory Purchase

  • Part 8 - Miscellaneous and General


8.     Part 1 (which applies only to England) provides that there will be a regional spatial strategy (RSS) for each region. Such regional planning guidance (RPG) as is prescribed by the Secretary of State will become the RSS. In addition, the Secretary of State has power to recognise a body as the regional planning body (RPB) for a region. The RPB must keep the RSS under review and monitor and report on its implementation. The RPB must try to arrange for county councils and other types of authorities with strategic planning expertise to help with its work if it considers this desirable. The RPB must prepare a draft revision of the RSS when it appears to be necessary or expedient to do so, or at such time as is prescribed. The Part makes general provision covering the preparation of draft revisions to the RSS, their submission to the Secretary of State and the holding of examinations in public of draft revisions. The Secretary of State has various default powers and may exercise functions of the RPB where there is no such recognised body in a region. The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision in connection with the exercise by any person of functions under this Part.

9.     Part 2 (which applies only to England) provides for the preparation of local development documents (LDD). These will replace local plans, unitary development plans and structure plans. Every local planning authority (as defined in the Part) must prepare and maintain a local development scheme. A county council in respect of any part of their area for which there is a district council must prepare and maintain a minerals and waste development scheme.

10.     These schemes will set out what LDDs the authority will prepare, their timetable for preparation and whether they are to be prepared jointly with one or more other authorities. County councils in respect of any part of their area for which there is a district council will be able to participate in the preparation of LDDs concerning matters other than minerals and waste by entering a joint committee with one or more local planning authorities. LDDs must be prepared in accordance with the relevant scheme and must be in general conformity with the RSS or the spatial development strategy for London, as appropriate. The Part makes general provision as to the preparation, withdrawal, adoption and approval of LDDs and the examination of development plan documents. The Secretary of State has powers of intervention and may by regulations make provision in connection with the exercise by any person of functions under this Part.

11.     Part 3 deals with development. It updates the definition of the development plan to take account of the changes to the planning system made by the Bill. It also imposes on those with plan-making functions under Parts 1, 2 and 6 a duty to exercise their functions with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.

12.     Part 4 deals with development control. Local planning authorities will be able to introduce local permitted development rights by way of local development orders. The Secretary of State will be able to make development orders setting out the procedures for a statement of development principles; to make development orders and regulations prescribing the procedure for making applications for planning permission and certain consents; to prescribe fees and charges for a wider range of planning functions; and to make regulations prescribing a timetable for "called in" and recovered appeals and connected decisions. The Part provides that local planning authorities may decline to determine applications. It also changes the duration of planning permission and consents. It deals with major infrastructure projects in England, in relation to which the Secretary of State - if he considers the development to be of national or regional importance - may direct that a planning application must be referred to him rather than dealt with by the local planning authority. The Part amends the provisions for simplified planning zones contained in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 so that they can only be made where the need for such a zone has been identified in the RSS (or, in relation to Wales, where criteria prescribed by the National Assembly are met). It introduces a duty for persons or bodies which are required to be consulted to respond to consultation requests within a specified time.

13.     Part 5 deals with the correction of errors. The Secretary of State or an inspector may, subject to various conditions, correct errors contained in decision letters where a decision document is issued which contains a correctable error. The Secretary of State or the inspector may correct the letter where he is requested to do so in writing or where he writes to the applicant explaining that he is considering making a correction. The applicant (and, if the applicant is not the owner of the land, the owner of the land as well) must agree to the correction.

14.     Part 6 contains Wales-specific clauses. It reforms the development plan system in Wales, where a single-tier system of local government and a uniform pattern of unitary development plans were introduced by the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994. The basic pattern of development plans (to be known as local development plans) is to be retained. Each local planning authority in Wales will be required to prepare a local development plan, to review it at intervals and to revise it as necessary. Local development plans will be simpler, more concise documents than the present unitary development plans and will focus on the authority's objectives for the use and development of land in their area and their general policies for implementing them (but with scope for more detailed policies in key localities).

15.     Procedures for preparing and revising plans will be simplified. Public participation in formulating plans and expedition in taking them through to adoption are to be maximised through community involvement schemes and timetables agreed between the local planning authority and the National Assembly for Wales (or, if agreement cannot be reached, determined by the Assembly). A shift in the focus of an independent examination of the local development plan towards its overall soundness is intended to encourage examinations to become less adversarial. Provision is also made for the National Assembly for Wales to prepare and publish a national spatial plan for Wales (the "Wales Spatial Plan") to which local planning authorities will be required to have regard when preparing their plans.

16.     Part 7 amends the existing power of local authorities, joint planning boards and National Park authorities under section 226(1)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to acquire compulsorily land which is suitable for and required in order to secure the carrying out of development, re-development or improvement. They will be able to acquire land by compulsory purchase if they think that it will facilitate the carrying out of development, re-development or improvement on or in relation to the land, on condition that such acquisition will be of economic, social or environmental benefit to their area. The Part also makes provision for a new statutory scheme which, subject to certain exceptions, provides for "loss payments" for owners and occupiers not entitled to receive payments under the home loss scheme set out in sections 29 to 33 of the Land Compensation Act 1973.

17.     Part 8 deals with miscellaneous and general issues.


18.     Parts 1 and 2 apply only to England and Part 6 applies only to Wales. Otherwise, provisions apply (unless otherwise indicated) to both England and Wales. References in these Notes to the Secretary of State are therefore intended (other than in Parts 1 and 2 or where the context otherwise requires) to refer also to the National Assembly for Wales in relation to Wales.



Clause 1: Regional spatial strategy

19.     Clause 1 provides for a regional spatial strategy (RSS) in every region other than London. The RSS must set out the Secretary of State's policies (however expressed) in relation to the development and use of land in the region. These policies must be concerned with the use and development of land, but they need not be directly related to the grant or refusal of planning permission. They could include, for example, congestion charging policies. The RSS can include different policies for different areas within the region.

20.     Existing regional planning guidance issued by the Secretary of State will become the RSS. But it is only the regional planning guidance which the Secretary of State prescribes in regulations which will become the RSS. This is to enable the Secretary of State to decide, where there is a range of regional planning guidance in a region, which should become the RSS.

Clause 2: Regional planning bodies

21.     Clause 2 enables the Secretary of State to recognise a body as the regional planning body (RPB) for a region (and to withdraw that recognition). Where there is no such body the Secretary of State may himself exercise those functions of an RPB which he thinks appropriate. But it would not be appropriate, for example, for the Secretary of State to report to himself under clause 3 on the implementation of the RSS.

22.     A change in the membership of a body which is not incorporated does not affect the validity of the Secretary of State's recognition of that body as an RPB. This will prevent the need for the Secretary of State to issue a new direction recognising a body as the RPB every time a member of an unincorporated RPB is replaced.

Clause 3: RPB: general functions

23.     Clause 3 defines the general functions of the RPB. In particular, the RPB must keep the RSS and matters affecting development in its region under review. It must also monitor and report on the implementation of the RSS.

Clause 4: Assistance from certain local authorities

24.     This clause requires an RPB to consider whether it would be desirable for certain authorities in the region to assist it in carrying out any of the RPB's functions. If the RPB thinks that such assistance is desirable, it must attempt to make arrangements to enable those authorities to discharge the appropriate functions. The clause allows the RPB to reimburse an authority for any expenditure incurred under such an arrangement.

Clause 5: RSS revision

25.     Clause 5 explains when a draft revision of the RSS is to be prepared and what matters the RPB must consider when preparing a revision. Along with the draft revision the RPB must prepare, publish and submit a sustainability appraisal of the draft revision, together with any other documents prescribed in regulations, to the Secretary of State. The RPB may withdraw a draft revision at any time before it submits it to the Secretary of State.

Clauses 6-9: RSS

26.     These clauses set out the Secretary of State's functions in relation to a draft revision of an RSS and provide, as part of the consultation process, for the holding of an examination in public.

27.     Following submission of a draft revision to the Secretary of State, anyone may make representations on the draft and the Secretary of State may arrange for an examination in public. The examination is held before a person appointed by the Secretary of State who must report his findings to the Secretary of State. No one has a right to be heard at the examination. The Secretary of State must consider the report of the examination together with any representations made on the draft RSS (to the extent that these have not already been considered during the course of an examination) before publishing any changes he proposes to make (and the reasons for those proposals). After considering any representations on the draft changes, the Secretary of State must publish the revision to the RSS unless he withdraws it.

28.     The Secretary of State may direct an RPB to prepare a draft revision of the RSS and may specify which aspects of the RSS are to be revised and within what time frame. Where the RPB fails to act in accordance with such a direction, or where the RPB fails to comply with certain regulations made by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may prepare a draft revision and make regulations as to the manner in which this will occur. The Secretary of State may revoke all or parts of an RSS if he thinks it necessary to do so.

Clause 10 - 11: Regulations and Supplementary

29.     Clause 10 gives the Secretary of State power to make regulations in connection with the exercise by any person of functions under Part 1. Clause 11 defines a region in accordance with the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998.


Clause 12: Survey of area

30.     Clause 12 provides for the survey function of local planning authorities. An authority must keep under review matters which are likely to affect the development of their area or the planning of its development. An authority may also keep matters in any neighbouring area under review, to the extent that those matters might affect the area of the authority, and in doing so they must consult the authority for the neighbouring area concerned.

Clause 13: Survey of area: county councils

31.     Clause 13 provides for the survey function of county councils. County councils are to keep matters relating to minerals and waste development under review, as well as certain matters which are required to be kept under review under clause 12. The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring or directing a county council to keep certain matters under review and to make the results of the review available to such persons as he specifies. With regard to this latter function it is immaterial whether the matters relate to minerals and waste development.

Clause 14: Local development scheme

32.     Clause 14 sets out the roles of the local planning authority and the Secretary of State in relation to an authority's local development scheme. Every local planning authority must prepare and maintain a local development scheme specifying the documents that will be local development documents, their subject matter and area and the timetable for their preparation and revision. The local planning authority must submit their local development scheme to the Secretary of State who can direct changes to the scheme as he thinks appropriate. He can also make regulations for bringing the scheme into effect.

Clause 15: Minerals and waste development scheme

33.     Clause 15 provides for county councils to prepare and maintain minerals and waste development schemes and explains the way in which Part 2 of the Bill applies to those schemes. The major difference between a local development scheme and a minerals and waste development scheme is that the provisions in Part 2 on joint committees will not apply to documents prepared under the latter.

Clause 16: Local development documents

34.     Clause 16 makes provision relating to local development documents (LDDs). A local planning authority must include as LDDs in their local development scheme those documents which are prescribed and their statement of community involvement. The LDDs together must set out the authority's policies relating to the development and use of land in their area. In the case of LDDs included in a minerals and waste development scheme, the LDDs together must also set out the authority's policies relating to minerals and waste development. The Secretary of State may prescribe the form and content of LDDs and which descriptions of those documents are development plan documents (which are to be subject to the process of independent examination and which will form part of the authority's development plan).

Clause 17: Statement of community involvement

35.     Clause 17 defines a local planning authority's statement of community involvement as a statement of their policy for involving interested parties in matters relating to development in their area. The statement will apply to the preparation and revision of LDDs and to the exercise of the authority's functions in relation to development control. The statement will be subject to independent examination as if it were a development plan document.

Clause 18: Preparation of local development documents

36.     Clause 18 sets out the requirements for preparing LDDs. The local planning authority must prepare each LDD in accordance with their local development scheme. The authority must have regard to the matters listed in the clause, including national policies, the RSS for their region and their community strategy, and must carry out a sustainability appraisal of the proposals in each document. Once the authority have adopted their statement of community involvement they must comply with it in preparing any local development document.

Clause 19: Independent examination

37.     Clause 19 requires the local planning authority to submit every development plan document to the Secretary of State for independent examination and provides for the arrangements and procedures for the examination. The purpose of the examination will be to determine whether the development plan document is sound and whether it satisfies the requirements relating to its preparation. Any person who makes representations which ask for any matter in the development plan document to be changed has a right to appear in person at the examination. The examination must be carried out by a person appointed by the Secretary of State and that person must make recommendations, which the local planning authority must publish.

Clause 20: Intervention by Secretary of State

38.     Clause 20 allows the Secretary of State, if he thinks an LDD is unsatisfactory, to direct a local planning authority to modify the LDD before it is adopted. It also allows the Secretary of State to direct that a development plan document or any part of it must be submitted to him for his approval. If an independent examination of that document is already in process, the person appointed to carry out that examination is required to report to the Secretary of State, who must publish the person's recommendations. If the Secretary of State's direction is given before the document has been submitted for examination, the Secretary of State is required to hold an examination.

Clauses 21-25: Withdrawal, adoption, conformity with regional strategy, revocation and revision of LDDs

39.     Clauses 21 to 25 deal with the arrangements for LDDs to be withdrawn, adopted, checked for conformity with regional strategy, revoked and revised. A local planning authority can withdraw an LDD at any time before they adopt it. But an authority cannot withdraw a development plan document once it has been submitted for independent examination unless the person carrying out the examination so recommends or the Secretary of State directs the document to be withdrawn. An authority may adopt an LDD which is not a development plan document with or without changes. But it can only adopt a development plan document in accordance with the recommendations of the person appointed to hold the independent examination.

40.     LDDs must be in general conformity with the RSS or the Mayor of London's spatial development strategy (as appropriate). In relation to development plan documents, a local planning authority must request the opinion of the RPB or the Mayor, as applicable, as to the conformity of those documents with the RSS or spatial development strategy. If the RPB or the Mayor does not believe the LDD to be in general conformity with the appropriate regional strategy, its or his opinion will be treated as a representation seeking a change, and it or he will accordingly have the right to appear in person at the examination. The Secretary of State may, however, direct that the RPB's opinion should be ignored.

41.     The Secretary of State may revoke an LDD if an authority ask him to do so.

42.     An authority may prepare a revision of an LDD at any time, and must prepare a revision if the Secretary of State so directs, adhering to any timetable he sets. Revisions to LDDs must comply with the same requirements as those which apply to the preparation of LDDs.

Clause 26: Secretary of State's default powers

43.     Clause 26 contains default powers for the Secretary of State to prepare or revise LDDs if he thinks the local planning authority are failing properly to carry out these functions themselves. The authority must reimburse the Secretary of State for any expenditure he incurs in exercising these powers.

Clause 27: Joint local development documents

44.     Clause 27 enables and sets out the arrangements for two or more local planning authorities jointly to prepare an LDD. If an authority withdraw from an agreement to prepare an LDD jointly, it will be possible for the remaining authority or authorities to continue with the preparation of the LDD provided that the document satisfies the conditions required for it to be treated as a "corresponding document".

Clause 28-30: Joint committees

45.     Clauses 28-30 contain provisions for joint committees of one or more local planning authorities and one or more county councils in whose area(s) there are district councils. The Secretary of State may by order constitute a joint committee to be the local planning authority, for the purposes of this Part, for such area and in relation to such matters as the constituent authorities agree. Provision is also made to enable the joint committee to exercise additional functions where the constituent authorities agree. If a joint committee breaks down, provision is made to enable successor authorities (authorities which were constituent authorities of the joint committee or a successor joint committee) to preserve the effect of the local development scheme or document provided that the scheme or document satisfies the conditions for treatment as a "corresponding" scheme or document.

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Prepared: 4 December 2002