Proposed changes to the Town and Country Planning (Development Procedure) Order and the Town and Country Planning (Application and Appeal Fees) Order

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Closes 26 Jan 2024


Why are changes being made?

The Built Environment Reform Programme (BERP) was launched in July 2022 and refreshed in May 2023.  It is a package of measures including (but not limited to) improvements to the planning system to facilitate delivery of Our Island Plan and the Economic Strategy, including the following key objectives of Our Island Plan:

  • two key brownfield sites developed using substantial private sector leverage (whilst the metric within Our Island Plan is for key sites to be developed, the programme should aim to incentivise and unlock as much development as possible); and
  • an additional 1,000 additional homes occupied

The BERP is a two year programme of work set out to develop commitments in Our Island Plan to build great communities.  It is overseen by DEFA but is a joint programme also being delivered by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Enterprise.  The legislative changes proposed in this consultation will contribute to the delivery of the programme.

What is out of scope?

There are a number of other types of applications that DEFA deals with, and changes to these processes are not within the scope of the current consultation:

  • Building Control Applications - these are dealt with under the Building Control Act (although it is noted that the impact of the Climate Change Act and the banning of fossil fuel heating systems in new buildings may have implications for planning and this is reflected in the proposed changes to the Minor Change process);
  • Registered Building Consent - there is a separate item of secondary legislation made under the Planning Act for these, and this is the subject of a separate work stream (see below);
  • Certificates of Lawful Use or Development - the process for these is in standalone secondary legislation made under the Planning Act; and
  • Advertisement Consent - these have their own secondary legislation made under the Planning Act which sets out those adverts that have deemed consent and those that require an application. Such applications are required to go through the same process as a planning application, therefore consequential changes will be required to the Advertisement Regulations (to ensure that the cross references are still correct).  However, a wider review of the regulations is not within the scope of the current consultation.

There has been a recent public consultation on changes to the Planning Act which included proposals in relation to: the definition of development; Permitted Development; Registered Buildings and discretionary fees.  The first two are relevant when a planning application is required and the third is relevant for the planned updating of the Registered Building Regulations, but are not directly relevant for the DPO.  The fourth point (powers for discretionary fees) may be relevant for future reviews of planning fees, but the proposals set out in this consultation are based on the existing powers and so do not consider the introduction of discretionary fees.


The refreshed and published Built Environment Reform Programme (BERP) contains Pillar 3,

“Improve the Planning Process”, with Objective 1 “Develop faster and more proportionate planning process” delivered by the action, “Ensure a proportionate appeals system, better quality applications and appropriate fees. This will include consideration of the pre-application advice service and validation requirements, the planning appeals process and the fees structure”. 

Two draft orders have been produced and are the subject of this consultation -  one will make changes to the DPO and one will make changes to the Fees Order.  The draft amendment orders and “keeling” documents that show the current orders with the proposed amendments are available for view as part of this consultation.  For reference purposes, a summary is available on our website of the existing Planning Application Process and Planning Appeals Process