Last edited 05 Nov 2015

Nationally significant infrastructure projects and housing briefing note

On 28 October 2015, the government published a briefing note providing further information on the nationally significant infrastructure planning clause of the Housing and Planning Bill 2015.

Clause 107 allows an element of housing when development consent is granted for a nationally significant infrastructure project. This permits housing which is related to the infrastructure to be consented as part of a development consent order. The briefing note provides guidance about the circumstances where housing will be acceptable and the amount and type of housing allowable.

It suggests that housing will be allowed in cases where:

  • There is a functional need for the housing in terms of the construction or operation of a project. For example where housing (rather than temporary accommodation) is needed for construction workers, or to support a 24 hour presence on the site for key workers.
  • The housing is not functionally linked to the infrastructure project but is in geographical proximity to the project. For example, housing which is within the boundary of an infrastructure project such as a business and commercial project that includes housing, or housing that is adjacent to or in close proximity of a nationally significant project (eg a rail station on a railway line). In this context, “close to” should be considered to be up to 1 mile away from any part of the infrastructure.

It will not allow projects that only comprise housing.

The guidance makes clear it is very unlikely that the Secretary of State will grant consent for more than 500 dwellings in a single development consent order and that in some locations, for example those where development is already restricted by policies in the national planning policy framework, a lower amount of housing, or no housing at all, will be appropriate. This might include policies intended to protect the green belt or heritage assets.

A final version of the briefing note will be published if the clause receives Royal Assent.

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