Last edited 21 Jul 2017

Crown development on Crown-owned land

Before June 2006, the Crown was not subject to the planning system, but since then, the Planning Acts apply to the Crown in much the same way as they do to other developers.

This means the Crown is now generally required to apply to the local planning authority for the following on Crown-owned land:

Certain provisions and arrangements are in place so that development that is critical can be facilitated, and access to sensitive information (i.e. in the interests of national security and defence) can be restricted. These include:

  • Additional permitted development rights: Enabling certain Crown developments without needing to apply for planning permission.
  • Non-disclosure arrangements: When details of planning applications cannot be disclosed.
  • National security provisions: To avoid disclosure of sensitive information in a public inquiry.
  • Special urgency procedure: To fast-track the planning process for urgent Crown development.

The local planning authority may determine that, due to the Crown body withholding certain details from the planning application, it does not have the necessary information to make a decision and may refuse consent or fail to determine the application.

On appeal, the Secretary of State, under section 321 of the principal Act, has the power to restrict the relevant information to certain people at an inquiry. In this way, it is hoped that an informed decision can be reached.

Under rule 6 of the Planning (National Security Directions and Appointed Representatives) (England) Rules 2006, the Secretary of State must publicise any request that is made by a Crown body for a section 321 direction.

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