Agenda item

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: consultation on implementation of plan-making reforms

To receive and consider the attached report of the Chief Planning Officer which outlines the proposals by the Government, which are presently out for consultation between 25 July to 18 October 2023, on implementation of plan-making reforms. Plan-making sets out the planning strategy and priorities for an area and is used to help decide on planning applications and other planning related decisions.



The report of the Chief Planning Officer outlined the proposals by the Government, which were out for consultation between 25 July to 18 October 2023, on implementation of plan-making reforms.


The Head of Strategic Planning and Principal Planner from City Development, presented the report, providing Members with the following information:

·  The Government consultation specially related to proposals regarding plan making, as part of the Leveling-Up and Regeneration Bill and alongside the planning reform white paper of 2020.

·  Key points from the consultation were noted as vision, plan content, shorter and simpler timeframes, frontloading the process, consultations, access to information, monitoring and digitalization.

·  Previous consultation responses had been incorporated and taken into account before the Government had resubmitted the consultation.

·  The proposals had been broadly welcomed but had raised some concerns and this Bill formed part of bigger reforms and plans being taken forward.


Members discussed the following key matters:

  • The 30 month turnaround timeframe was noted to be short considering the wide scope of debate and consultation that go alongside complex policy development and adoption. It was noted that the initial scoping was not included in the 30 month timeframe and had no attached time limit.
  • The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and the open consultation with the public conducted in Leeds, was considerable and the response to the Government will outline this as a concern as well as querying whether the SCI will remain or be replaced by project initiation documents.
  • It was confirmed that the reform was proposed to cover all development plan policy, including Site Allocation Plans, however it was unclear whether it will also cover neighbourhood policy.
  • As the development and adoption of policy can be delayed by factors outside of the Council’s control, the response noted that the 30 month timescale was unreasonable, especially given the planning system’s resource issues, within Local Authorities and Planning Inspectorates. Policy progressed at the pace of the slowest responder.
  • Comments from other Local Authorities had been similar, and although there was sense in the consultation, the 30 month time frame being unachievable had overshadowed the overall contents.
  • It was not known whether sanctions will be in place for not meeting timeframes, but the gateways will be a point of determining achievability and a request had been made for the same Planning Inspectorate to deal with each policy development, to allow consistency.
  • It was outlined that a specific timeframe the Council could propose to work to had not been included within the response but given the complexity and scale of the process in Leeds, it was difficult to define a plan time frame.
  • As part of the Council’s response, it had noted gateway 3 was an appropriate time to pause the clock on the timeframe and allow consultation to reach agreements with Government as to much time was required to complete the process.
  • The gateways were to frontload and de-risk the process, allowing early contact with a Planning Inspectorate to encourage peer support and identification of unnecessary work at an earlier stage.
  • It was unclear whether Supplementary Planning Documents were to be replaced, although the intention was thought to allow new supplementary guidance to be developed alongside headline policies. Further information on this issue was to be sought.
  • Digital consultation, although useful and saved time and resources, it will raise issues of exclusion. The Council still intended to hold open, public engagement and provide feedback.
  • Neighbourhood plans were noted to be complex and had a requirement to conform with the generality of reasonable public comments. Further details on the bills impact upon neighbourhood plans was needed.
  • Members requested that the updated response be provided back to them prior to it being sent to Government.


RESOLVED That the contents of the report, along with Members comments regarding the Councils consultation response, which will be sent by the Chief Planning Officer following further consultation with the Executive Member for Sustainable Development & Infrastructure, be noted.


Supporting documents: