Current Government Consultations - December 2018

A brief summary of current government consultations of potential interest to RSN members. This is not intended as an exhaustive list of all relevant consultations.


Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Government want to know what people think about the draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Water Resources Infrastructure. It sets out the need and government’s policies for development of nationally significant infrastructure projects relevant to water resources in England. The types of infrastructure that the NPS will specifically apply to are reservoirs, water transfer and desalination projects in England.

In particular, they want to know if the draft NPS provides an appropriate and effective framework to make decisions on development consent applications. They also want views on the Assessment of Sustainability and Habitats Regulations Assessments that accompany the NPS.

This consultation closes on 31 January 2019.

Proposal for a New Approach to Building: Call for Evidence – HM Treasury

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced at Budget 2017 that five central government departments would adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction. This signalled that the government was committed to leveraging its buying power to support the modernisation of the construction sector.

Following these commitments the government are now taking the next steps to implement this measure by setting out a new approach to building, to be adopted across government departments where it presents value for money. They have called this a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA).

This consultation closes on 17 February 2019.

Business rates treatment of self-catering accommodation – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

The consultation paper considers options to strengthen the criteria for holiday lets to be liable for business rates, and therefore potentially at a financial advantage due to the small business rate relief scheme.

It will be of particular interest to owners of holiday lets, trade representatives of the self-catering and tourism industry and local authorities.

This consultation closes on 15 January 2019.

Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): call for evidence – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The government want to know what you think works well and what could be improved in England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). They are asking for evidence which will help inform an independent review.

They are keen to hear from people with views that might shape and improve their findings. In particular, people who:

  • live in a national park or AONB
  • run a business in them
  • enjoy visiting
  • care about landscapes and biodiversity

This consultation closes on 18 December 2018.

New Build Developments: Delivering gigabit-capable connections – Department for Digital, Culture, media & Sport & HM Treasury

Government want to know what you think about proposals to make it a requirement for developers and operators to provide gigabit-capable connections to new homes.

This consultation states: “The Government is committed to providing the UK with world-class digital connectivity that is gigabit-capable, reliable, secure and widely available across the UK - and to do so at pace. We have set an ambitious target of making gigabit-capable networks available to 15 million premises by 2025, with nationwide coverage by 2033.

The consultation is seeking responses on the following main proposals:

  • Developers and network operators share the cost of connecting new build sites to gigabit-capable networks.
  • Introducing a ‘duty to connect’ provision upon network operators.
  • Amending Building Regulations Approved Document Part R: (Physical infrastructure for high-speed electronic communications networks). This will mean all new build sites will be built with the necessary infrastructure in place to support gigabit-capable networks.

This consultation closes on 21 December 2018.

Private shared homeownership: call for proposals – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government & HM Treasury

Government is seeking proposals from private investors, delivery organisations or partnerships between them to provide new routes into affordable home ownership.

Government state that they would welcome proposals in 3 categories:

  • private shared ownership which would be primarily privately funded
  • other private affordable homeownership products which should be primarily privately funded
  • other innovative routes into homeownership which do not require government investment but may require the removal of regulatory or other barriers

Proposals should not rely on government grant funding, government guarantees or developer s106 contributions. Government are particularly interested in private shared ownership proposals where they believe government loan funding will play an important part in removing the risk and financial uncertainty created by staircasing. (Staircasing is the term given to buying extra shares in a shared ownership property.)

This consultation closes on 1 February 2019.

Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government & HM Treasury

The government states: “We are committed to simplifying and speeding up the planning system, to support the high street, make effective use of land and deliver more homes. Building on existing planning reforms, the government is consulting on proposals that will allow greater change of use to support high streets to adapt and diversify, support extending existing buildings upwards to create additional homes, and speed up the delivery of new homes.”

The consultation includes separate proposals in respect of:

  • Part 1: new and amended permitted development rights and changes to use classes, including to support the regeneration of the high street and to extend existing buildings upwards to create new homes.
  • Part 2: the disposal of surplus local authority land - rationalising and updating the rules which govern disposal of public land at less than best value.
  • Part 3: a draft listed building consent order to support the work of the Canal & River Trust.
  • Part 4: draft guidance on the compulsory purchase powers of new town development corporations

This consultation closes on 14 January 2019.

Changes to planning policy and guidance including the standard method for assessing local housing need – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government

The publication of new household projections by the Office for National Statistics has led to a significant reduction in the overall numbers generated by the standard method for assessing local housing need.

This consultation sets out proposals to update planning practice guidance on housing need assessment to be consistent with increasing housing supply.

This consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on:

  • housing land supply
  • the definition of deliverable
  • appropriate assessment

This consultation closes on 7 December 2018.

Prepared by Andy Dean, Assistant Director at the Rural Services Network


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