Stronger measures on planning powers introduced

New planning powers come into effect today giving local councils more tools to hold rogue developers to account as part of the government’s Levelling-up and Regeneration Act.

Council planners can use stronger enforcement measures to take on landowners who repeatedly break planning rules. 

This includes those who carry out works without approval or act in bad faith on developments with planning consent.

These changes will supposedly make it harder for rule breakers to seek future planning permission and will give councils the ability to issue unlimited fines against those failing to build in the right places.

The measures include increasing enforcement limits from four to 10 years so councils have more time to stop developments without planning approval, as well as bringing in unlimited fines against developers who fail to comply with planning permission.

Additionally, they plan to double the length of temporary stop notices to 56 days to suspend all works if a council suspects building has gone ahead despite permission has not been granted and dismiss appeals against developers trying to delay the process, including the refusal of site visits and access.

The government said councils have welcomed these measures so developers "can get fully behind [their] long-term plan for housing to regenerate and level up communities" in the UK.

Minister for housing and planning, Lee Rowley said: “We are clamping down on planning loopholes, allowing councils to issue unlimited fines, and strengthening local decisions that communities want to see. 

"This builds on our long-term plan for housing to deliver more homes and infrastructure that is beautiful, affordable, and built in the right places.”

These immediate powers will work alongside wider measures introduced through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act that requires developers to help deliver vital infrastructure, including schools and doctor surgeries.

The Act also brings forward new laws to encourage developers to get on with building more homes, providing regular updates on progress and giving councils the chance to consider slow build-out rates when granting planning approval.

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