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Landmark Planning Bill introduced

A landmark Bill putting the people of Wales at the heart of how we plan for the future has today been introduced by the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant. 

The Planning (Wales) Bill will enable communities across Wales to benefit from a streamlined system which will support the delivery of the homes, jobs and infrastructure that Wales requires. 
 
The Bill proposes: 
  • Community consultations on major developments will be required to take place as early as possible to ensure a more robust and speedy planning system and a clearer framework for how developers engage communities in the planning of our cities,  home towns, villages and open spaces; 
  • Planning decisions will be made at the appropriate level of Government – in future Ministers will decide on planning applications for development of national significance to Wales;  
  • Some planning issues extend beyond the boundaries of a single local planning authority and need to be tackled at a sub-regional level, through a strategic development plan, prepared by a strategic planning panel. This panel will comprise representatives of local authorities, community, environmental and business interests.
  • A more effective enforcement system which will enable communities to see more prompt action against breaches of planning control
Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said:
 
“I’m delighted to introduce this landmark bill, the first of its kind in Wales, which will see the planning process strengthened from top to bottom, resulting in an effective, enabling system which best serves the people of Wales and is fit for the 21st century.
 
“Amongst the improvements that communities can look forward to are clarity on how and when to engage in the planning and consultation processes improved monitoring of local authorities and a refined appeals process that ensures greater fairness, transparency and speed.
 
“The Bill also proposes to amend existing powers in order to create more resilient local planning authorities with a wider range of specialist skill sets. I have made no secret of my view that a reduction in the number of planning authorities from the current 25 is essential for the future of planning in Wales and this Bill strengthens this position.
 
“In addition to this, the Bill proposes that Welsh Ministers take decision making responsibility for planning applications for developments of national significance, we are consulting on this and propose including energy projects between 25 and 50 megawatts. This will ensure that schemes with an impact on communities across Wales are considered in both a wider and local context.
 
“Planning is at the heart of our communities, from building an extension on a house to building a new local school. The introduction of this Bill is the beginning of an exciting period for planning in Wales and I will soon be putting in place additional measures to ensure that the Bill’s objectives are met in full. I look forward to seeing these reforms, coupled with a ‘can do’ culture across the planning sector, providing a system which can make a positive and lasting impact on our communities
Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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