In an extended discussion with Planning magazine, Mike Kiely, the Chair of the Society's Board of Trustees, provided comments on the contents of the new Bill.
- Local brownfield land registers - Kiely says this could require councils to increase the number of sites that they assess because, unlike existing rules, sites of smaller than 0.25 hectares or property with a floorspace below 500 square metres will have to be considered. "In a heavily built-up area such as London, this will add a significant number of sites to the SHLAA process," he says. "For instance, at my previous authority, the \\london Borough of Croydon, we calculated that a threshold of five units would add about 165 sites to the 129 that are greater than 0.25 hectares and were already identified in the SHLAA. Additional resources for this work are not envisaged, so it would drain those from other planning functions and likely result in boroughs being unable to mainatin an up-to-date local plan."
- Neighbourhood planning - Kiely said "these provisions involve tighter timescales and a much clearer duty to assist neighbourhood forums in preparing their plans". "Although there is some support from the DCLG at the moment to assist with these additional costs, there is no certainty that this will continue, so there is a risk that this could become a very significant financial burden for those councils that enjoy high levels of neighbourhood planning activity in their area."
- Informaton about financial benefits - Stepping up the requirement in the NPPG to a duty is a significant change, and it could prove difficult for local authorities to quantify such financial benefits, says Kiely. "This is a very odd and burdensome requirement," he says.
- Starter Homes - the loss of infrastructure funding from Starter Homes schemes due to the fact that they will be exempt from CIL is afurther concern. POS has stated "These Starter Homes will generate the demand for infrastructure without any funding for it."