The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 received Royal Assent on 25th April 2013. The Act includes various measures aimed at promoting growth and facilitating the delivery of infrastructure. These include:
- an option to make planning applications directly to the Secretary of State when a local planning authority has been designated as under-performing.
- broadening the powers of the Secretary of State to award costs in relation to planning appeals.
- limits on the information local planning authorities can require as part of a planning application
- allowing for the reconsideration of section 106 obligations relating to affordable housing on the grounds of economic viability.
- limitations to the ability to use an application to register land as a town or vilage green in order to frustrate development.
- allowing the stopping up or diversion of highways and public paths under the TCPA 1990 to commence before planning permission has been granted.
- enabling the Secretary of State to direct that business and commercial projects of national significance can be considered under the nationally significant infrastructure regime under the Planning Act 2008 in order to speed up the determination of such applications.
The Act will come into force in phases with certain provisions (such as those relating to s.106 and affordable housing) coming into effect immediately. Other provisions (such as those relating to the stopping up or diversion of highways) will come into force two months later and the remaining provisions will be brought into force by a statutory instrument in due course.