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Last edited 05 Jun 2018
Town and Country Planning Act
The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 was an important piece of British legislation that introduced the basis for much of the contemporary planning system. It was intended as a response to the post-Second World War need for large-scale rebuilding and planning of towns and cities, as well as to help reorganise industry.
The 1947 Act democratised the use of land, controlling it and requiring planning permission to be granted prior to development beginning. The significance of the Act lay in the fact that by establishing the requirement for planning permission, the right to develop land was no longer a given of ownership.
This meant that local authorities, which were reorganised from 1,400 to 145, had to prepare a comprehensive local plan which set out detailed policies and proposals for the use and development of land within their area. Permitted development rights were granted to sectors such as agriculture which exempted them from some planning controls.
Wide-ranging powers were given to local authorities, including:
- Approval of planning proposals.
- Redevelopment of land.
- Compulsory purchase orders to buy land and lease to private developers.
- Powers to control outdoor advertising.
- Powers to preserve woodland or buildings of architectural/historic interest.
The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 superseded the 1947 Act and made several changes, principally dividing planning into forward planning and development control, i.e. setting out the future strategy of the local authority, and controlling the current development.
Part 3 of the Act places all significant development decisions by private landowners in public ownership, which was seen as being necessary to prevent development taking place that was against the will or best interests of the community.
Section 102 enables a Notice to be issued ordering the discontinuing use, or alteration or removal of buildings or works. A local planning authority (LPA) can issue a Notice if they consider it is in the interests of the proper planning of their area, including being in the interests of amenity. For more information, see Section 102.
Section 106 allows for the setting in place of planning agreements or planning obligations that developers must meet in order to secure planning permission. The purpose of Section 106 is to offset the costs (social, infrastructural, economic, etc.) entailed with the development going ahead. This can take the form of a provision for social or affordable housing, or a contribution towards the provision of better local infrastructure. For more information, see Section 106 contributions.
Sections 137-171 relate to the landowner’s right to require purchase of interests, i.e. interests affected by planning decisions or orders. Known as property blight, this involves the reduction in marketability and value of land as a result of a public sector decision. For more information, see Property blight.
Section 215 enables an LPA to serve a notice if they judge the condition of land or buildings to be harmful to the area. A typical application of a Section 215 notice is to require the tidying up of waste and detritus on open land. For more information, see Section 215.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- British post-war mass housing.
- Detailed planning application.
- Garden cities.
- Housing Act 1996.
- Permitted development.
- Planning and Compensation Act 1991.
- Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act.
- Planning conditions.
- Planning legislation.
- Planning obligation.
- Planning permission.
- Ribbon development.
- Section 106 consultation.
- Section 215.
- Section 278 agreement.
- Social housing.
- Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order.
- Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.
- Town planning.
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