Last edited 20 May 2016

Local development orders

The planning process is often cited by businesses as a constraint on their ability to expand operations or to invest in new areas. Constraints relate to the time taken to get planning permission (or the possibility that it will take a long time), the costs associated with preparing an application and the inherent risk that permission will not be granted, resulting in total collapse of a project that may have taken a great deal of time and money to create, or a long and expensive appeals process.

Local Development Orders (LDO’s) are intended to enable local planning to be simplified under certain circumstances. LDO’s are intended to help attract investment to an area, and to support existing businesses by giving certainty for developers, reducing timescales and reducing the costs associated with making a planning application.

LDO’s can be made by a local planning authority to extend permitted development rights, or grant planning permission, for specific development proposals or classes of development in a particular area. This can include changes of use, small-scale developments such as changes to signage or to shop fronts or can permit entire new buildings . They are particularly useful in areas that have defined boundaries, such as masterplanning areas, town centres or enterprise zones.

LDO power are given to local authorities under section 61 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, amended by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Killian Pretty Review (2008) gave additional support for LDOs and the Planning Act 2008 made it easier to establish LDO’s by removing the need for orders to support policies set out in local development plans. The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010 states that ...Local Development Orders grant permission for types of development set out in the Order Schedule, which meet the requirements of the associated Design Code and planning conditions.

The National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) states that local planning authorities should consider using Local Development Orders ....to relax planning controls for particular areas or categories of development, where the impacts would be acceptable, and in particular where this would promote economic, social or environmental gains for the area, such as boosting enterprise.... (ref NPPF) (NB Planning Planning Policy Statement 12 was replaced by the NPPF).

LDO's require public consultation, but this can be relatively fast, with the process of drafting an order, consulting the public and notifying the Secretary of State taking as little as two months

Developers can still apply for planning permission within an area affected by an LDO, but difficulties may be encountered if the application is contrary to the objectives of the order. Local development orders do not override restrictions relating to listed buildings, and conditions can be attached to developments permitted by an LDO.

NB In June 2014, plans were announced that would give pre-planning approval for housing on brownfield sites. Local authorities will be required to introduce Local Development Orders for brownfield sites suitable for housing that will amount to the granting of outline planning permission. Ref Government initiatives to help build more new homes on brownfield land 13 June 2014. It is suggested that this could provide up to 200,000 permissions for new homes by 2020.

On 7 August 2014, the government invited local planning authorities to bid for funding for local development orders for housing on brownfield land. This forms part of the wider package of measures announced in June 2014 to make it easier to build on brownfield land that is suitable for housing. Bids were encouraged from local planning authorities that can identify brownfield sites suitable for housing and capable of accommodating in the region of 100 units or more. Successful bidders may receive in the order of £50,000 per bid towards the costs incurred in delivering the local development order. Ref Local development orders for housing development on brownfield land: invitation to bid.

In July 2015, proposals for the first large-scale local development order for a custom-built housing development were announced by Cherwell District Council. Under the proposals, intended for the 1,900 unit Graven Hill site in Oxfordshire, houses would have to conform to a set of design guidelines, but would not require planning permission.

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