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Queen's Speech - initial reaction

18 May 2016 • Julie Loggenberg

Proposed new legislation announced in today's Queen's Speech could have important implications for Registered Prividers. Croftons' Partner, Julie Loggenberg, gives her initial reaction.

"We haven’t even got the current Housing and Planning bill through parliament yet and now this; the new Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, announced in today's Queen's Speeach.

"Its main thrust obviously sticks to the government's aim to facilitate a speedier development process with streamlining pre-commencement planning conditions which will hopefully assist in cutting down timescales to get on site. But, conversely, giving more say to local communities can actually prevent much-needed development, so this element of the bill is possibly counter-intuitive. How do you please everyone? 

"The idea of privatising the Land Registry will impact on large scale land owners including RPs and we need to be careful it doesn’t slip through the back door because it is not seen to be controversial.

"Guaranteeing land ownership via the state is fundamental to our conveyancing system. And whilst there are problems with staffing and service levels at the moment at HMLR it is by no means certain that 'outsourcing' to wherever/whoever (which is what will happen if we are to go by previous experience of such things) will make it any better. The only certain thing is that fees will go up."

Main elements of the Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill

(Source: www.gov.uk)

Neighbourhood Planning

  • To further strengthen neighbourhood planning and give even more power to local people.
  • The new legislation would also strengthen neighbourhood planning by making the local government duty to support groups more transparent and by improving the process for reviewing and updating plans.

Planning Conditions

  • To ensure that pre-commencement planning conditions are only imposed by local planning authorities where they are absolutely necessary.
  • Excessive pre-commencement planning conditions can slow down or stop the construction of homes after they have been given planning permission.
  • The new legislation would tackle the overuse, and in some cases, misuse of certain planning conditions, and thereby ensure that development, including new housing, can get underway without unnecessary delay.

Compulsory Purchase

  • To make the compulsory purchase order process clearer, fairer and faster for all those involved.
  • Including reform of the context within which compensation is negotiated – often a very significant and complex part of finalising a compulsory purchase deal.Our proposals, on which we have already consulted, would consolidate and clarify over 100 years of conflicting statute and case law. We would establish a clear, new statutory framework for agreeing compensation, based on the fundamental principle that compensation should be based on the market value of the land in the absence of the scheme underlying the compulsory purchase.

National Infrastructure Commission

  • To establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis.
  • The Commission would provide the government with expert, independent advice on infrastructure issues by setting out a clear, strategic vision on the future infrastructure that is needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050.
  • To unlock economic potential across the UK and ensure that growth and opportunities are distributed across the country, boosting productivity and competitiveness through high-quality infrastructure.

Land Registry

  • The new legislation would enable the privatisation of Land Registry, which would support the delivery of a modern, digitally-based land registration service that will benefit the Land Registry’s customers, such as people buying or selling their home.
  • It could also return a capital receipt to the Exchequer to help reduce national debt.

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