Last edited 21 Mar 2016

Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013

The Growth and Infrastructure Bill was published in October 2012. The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 received royal assent on 25 April 2013, and parts of the Act came into force on 25 June 2013.

The Act sets out a series of reforms intended to reduce the red tape that the government considers hampers business investment, new infrastructure and job creation. It is hoped that this will help the UK recover from recession and allow it to compete more effectively on the global stage.

Specific measures which might affect development include:

Other measures include:

  • Creating an employee-owner status for companies, through tax-free shares for workers.
  • Ensuring that business rates do not increase unexpectedly in the next five years.

Despite a great deal of discussion, the Act only includes limited provisions relating to permitted development, and these will still require consideration by the local planning authority if neighbours object.

The Act targets the planning system which is seen by some in government as a barrier to progress. Despite this, The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is broadly supportive (ref). They do however express concern about how the performance of Local Planning Authorities will be judged, and suggest that re-negotiating Section 106 Agreements might actually delay proceedings rather than speeding them up.

Opponents have described the Act as a developers' charter and suggest that it runs counter to the intentions of the Localism Act. There is also concern that the planning system is still in the process of re-structuring following the implementation of the National Planning Policy Framework, and that these further changes could throw it into confusion. In addition, there are questions about whether a central planning processes will be any faster than local planning processes.

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