The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill (LURB) is currently making its way through the House of Lords. A government amendment which was passed on 26 April 2023 means that any person who has made an application for planning permission can have the local authority decline to determine the application. This only applies where a developer has been granted planning permission which has been commenced but not substantially completed and the authority considers that the "carrying out of the development is unreasonably slow" and the developer then submits a fresh planning application in the same local authority's area. There are anti-avoidance provisions to prevent a developer getting round this by a connected person applying and a list of things that a local authority has to have regard to when deciding if the development has been unreasonably slow.
Wider than before
Before the amendment the power to decline to determine an application only applied if the previous application included the same land. Now following the amendment it applies if there has been any applicable planning application within the same local authority's area.
A developer who has more than one site within the area of a local authority could be prevented from having a planning application determined (which probably does not include a reserved matters application or an amendment to an existing permission) if they have commenced on the first site but not substantially completed it due to the local authority considering the development to be " unreasonably slow".
Going forward, the relationship between a developer and the local authority will be even more important as a local authority is less likely to use this power if they consider that they have a constructive relationship with the developer. A good relationship (which is something that we would always recommend) would also enable a developer to explain build out rates on other sites and frame them in an appropriate context.
For further information on whether this amendment has a potential impact on your development please contact Jade.Chalmers@howardkennedy.com or Bob.Sadler@howardkennedy.com