Bringing forward housing under the Planning Act 2008: and the magic number is …

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On 13 October 2015, we wrote about how the Housing and Planning Bill, laid before Parliament that day, does not propose making housing a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) in its own right, alongside transport, energy and waste infrastructure.  However, the Bill certainly proposes allowing housing’s foot firmly in the door.

At that stage the position was that an undisclosed number of dwellings may be included in development consent order (DCO) applications under the Planning Act 2008 where there is a functional link with the main infrastructure project or at least a close geographical link. The detail was left to unpublished Guidance.

The proposal opens up opportunities for housebuilders to find innovative ways of including housing in infrastructure schemes they might not have previously considered obviously compatible, as well as converting temporary worker accommodation for the wider market. There is also potentially scope for promoters of certain categories of business and commercial schemes, which can opt into DCOs, and more conventionally include housing, to inject additional viability where this could make all the difference.

Our full article considers the draft planning guidance issued on 28 October 2015, to be read alongside the proposed Housing and Planning Bill. The Guidance clarifies the approach to be taken to housing under the DCO regime, including maximum dwelling numbers.

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