The Housing and Planning Bill has now completed its journey through Parliament and received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016.
The Bill has recently been going through a ‘parliamentary ping-pong’ as both houses of Parliament, the House of Lords and House of Commons, sought to reach a mutual agreement to finalise the document.
The only remaining amendment which regarded the sale of social housing, was rejected by the House of Commons on the day before. And while Labour MP Teresa Pearce concluded that the amendment would provide authorities with greater flexibility and expands opportunities for affordable housing, Brandon Lewis, Housing and Planning Minister said it would create two levels of problems including the ‘impact on our ability to work with local authorities to deliver the best deals of housing’ and that the bill was scrutinised by the Lords more than adequately and it would now be the time to stop.
The Housing and Planning Act will also immediately allow regulations to be introduced: providing for pilot schemes testing the use of alternative providers to process planning applications; setting timescales for neighbourhood planning decisions; and requiring councils to keep registers of certain types of land.
Provisions requiring councils to consider the sale of vacant council housing will also have immediate effect.
The parts of the Act introducing ‘permission in principle’ for housing-led developments will take effect two months after the Royal Assent.
Most other provisions, including those relating to starter homes, will come into force on dates to be specified by the communities secretary in future regulations. It is understood that a number of regulations are likely to be made in October.