Permission in Principle

New powers enabling local planning authorities (LPAs) in England to grant planning ‘permission in principle‘ (PiP) for new housing on certain categories of land will speed up the delivery of new homes, the government has advised.

LPAs are now required to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of local brownfield land available for housing. Land listed in ‘part 2’ of these new brownfield land registers will be the first category to benefit from automatic PiP for housing-led development, before the new power is rolled out to other categories of land later this year.

The registers are to be split into two parts. Part 2 of the register should list land which has been allocated by the LPA for residential development following set procedures. This is the land to which PiP will apply.

PiP is designed to separate decision-making on issues such as land use, location and amount of residential development from matters of technical detail, thereby reducing opportunities for delay to new housing development during the planning process. Where PiP has been granted, a scheme will receive full planning permission once the LPA has consented to the technical details. The acceptability of the ‘in principle’ issues cannot be reopened at the technical stage. Once granted, PiP for a site will last for five years unless the LPA specify otherwise.

Statutory guidance for local authorities will be published by June 2017, and will explain the role of brownfield registers and PiP in more detail, according to the government.

Not all the legislation and guidance is in place for PiPs and it remains to be seen how effective they will be in accelerating permissions.