Memorandum submitted by the City of London Corporation (PB 37)
Submitted by the Office of the City Remembrancer
1. The changes to the national planning system proposed by this Bill have been subject of internal consultation in the City of London.
2. The proposals raise three areas of concern to the City Corporation -
(a) the proposed consultation arrangements for 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects' which could preclude the City Corporation from making appropriate representations on infrastructure projects of importance to the City (paragraphs 3-8 below);
(b) the potential for the 'Community Infrastructure Levy' to resemble the supposedly abandoned Planning Gain Supplement (paragraphs 9-11 below);
(c) The apportionment of funds generated by the Community Infrastructure Levy between the local and regional levels (paragraph 12 below).
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
3. The Bill includes a new system for dealing with proposals for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
4. The Government proposes National Policy Statements for 13 categories of infrastructure. The National Policy Statements would set out national policy on the amount, type and size of infrastructure needed and the criteria for assessing suitability of locations for particular installations. A National Policy Statement could also identify specific locations.
5. Using the framework set by the National Policy Statements, an 'Infrastructure Planning Commission' would assess infrastructure proposals for particular locations. The Commission, made up of independent Commissioners, would have powers to grant or refuse Development Consent. The Commission would only refer applications to the Secretary of State where a National Policy Statement did not have effect. The Secretary of State would only intervene otherwise when a National Policy Statement was outdated or where intervention was justified in the interests of defence or national security.
6. The City Corporation is concerned that the Bill as drafted means it may not be a consultee on issues of infrastructure provision that are important to the City's future even though located some distance from it. This is particularly the case for regional transport infrastructure on which the vast majority of people working in the City depend (over 90% of people working in the City commute by public transport).
7. The Bill contains mandatory consultation provisions for 'National Policy Statements' (Clause 7) and where there is more than one possible location, mandatory consultees on publicity requirements to be undertaken before such statements are finalised (Clause 8). However, under the current drafting, were a statement to be in contemplation relating to, say, Heathrow or Stanstead airports, the City would not be a statutory consultee. This is because Clause 8 envisages that only the local authority where the infrastructure project is located and adjoining authorities must be consulted. This omission could result in the City's very real interest and contribution being insufficiently factored into the process.
8. The consultation provisions in clause 37 provide a further and more serious example. The clause creates a duty on the applicant to consult prior to seeking an order for Development Consent. However, the local authorities that are statutory consultees are the local authority for the land in question and neighbouring authorities. Such an approach could result in the City Corporation having no voice on issues relating to transport infrastructure on which the City depends.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
9. The Bill's provisions on a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) leave open several options for securing funding contributions from developments to help finance infrastructure. There are two aspects of concern to the City. The first is that, despite recent ministerial statements suggesting otherwise, CIL appears to have inherited from the proposed Planning Gain Supplement (PGS) the potential for at least one of its imperfections.
10. The City was encouraged by the Minister for Housing's statement on 9th October when she announced that the Government would not proceed with PGS but instead would include in the Planning Bill a new statutory planning charge "building on the strengths of the current system and experience from areas where a form of charging is already being applied"
11. One of the City's major concerns with PGS had been the practicality of basing a levy on the increase in the value of land following the grant of planning consent. Such valuations in the City either on account of market conditions or the circumstances of the particular owner would be very complex, extremely time consuming and could produce a negative result. It is therefore a matter of very considerable concern that this particular practical problem associated with PGS lives on in the drafting of Part 10 of the Bill. The concept of a levy based on an increase in land value appears in Clauses 163(2) and 166(4)(b). While such an approach may be effective for green field sites it will not be so for complex urban areas.
12. The second aspect is that the identification of the Mayor of London as a charging authority in Clause 164(2)(d) should not detract from the position indicated by the Government when PGS was being considered. That position anticipated 70% of the proceeds raised being returned to the local authority area that had generated them, with 30% being allocated to the region to help finance regional strategic projects.
 Energy generation station; electric line above ground; underground storage of gas; pipe-line; highway; airport; harbour facilities; railway; rail freight interchange; dam or reservoir; transfer of water; waste water treatment; hazardous waste.