Planning (Wales) Act: an update

The Planning (Wales) Act received Royal assent on 6 July 2015. It is the first of its kind since power was devolved to Wales in 2011, and is set to:

  • Strengthen the plan-led approach to planning. The Act introduces a new legal framework for the Welsh Ministers to prepare a national land use plan to be known as the National Development Framework for Wales. The framework will set out national land use priorities and infrastructure requirements for Wales.
  • Make provision for the production of Strategic Development Plans to tackle larger-than-local cross-boundary issues, such as housing supply and areas for economic growth and regeneration.
  • Make provision for pre-application consultation, and to require local planning authorities to provide pre-application services.
  • Provide for planning applications for nationally-significant projects to be made directly to Welsh Ministers. Applicants for planning permission will also be able to apply to the Welsh Ministers for planning permission where a local planning authority is deemed to be poorly performing.
  • Reform the development management system to streamline procedures to ensure that applications are dealt with promptly, providing certainty for developers and communities.
  • Improve enforcement and appeal procedures.
  • Make changes in relation to applications to register town and village greens.

The planning system in Wales will be substantially remodelled by the Act providing much needed clarity, certainty and transparency.

The Welsh Government has now begun consultation on the secondary legislation to be made supporting the development management provisions contained in the Act, including:

  • invalid applications: notices and appeals
  • decision notices
  • notification of development.

The Welsh Government are also seeking views on post-submission amendment and applications made under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, being an application to vary or remove conditions attached to a planning permission.

The consultation is open until 11 September 2015.

For further information on the Act or advice on making representations to the Welsh Government, please do not hesitate to contact Leanne O’Brien.