An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to town and country planning in England and Wales with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission.
[28th October 1971]
Be it enactedby the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
Part I Administration
1 Local planning authorities
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the council of a county is the local planning authority for the county, and the council of a county borough is the local planning authority for the county borough
(2) If it appears to the Secretary of State that it is expedient that a joint board should be established as the local planning authority for the areas of any two or more such councils as are mentioned in subsection (1) of this section, or for any parts of those areas, he may by order constitute those areas or parts as a united district for the purposes of this Act, and constitute a joint board (in this Act referred to as a " joint planning board ") as the local planning authority for that district:
Provided that the Secretary of State shall not make such an order except after holding a local inquiry unless all the councils concerned have consented to the making of the order.
(3) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the constitution of joint planning boards.
(4) Where a joint planning board is constituted for a united district, references in this Act to the area of a local planning authority—
(a) in relation to the board, shall be construed as references to that district; and
(b) in relation to any local planning authority being the council of a county or county borough of which part (but not the whole) is included in that district, shall be construed as references to so much of the county or county borough as is not so included.
(5) Regulations under this Act may make such provision consequential upon or supplementary to the provisions of this section as appears to the Secretary of State to be necessary or expedient.
(6) The preceding provisions of this section, and the provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act, shall have effect subject to the provisions of section 8 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (administration of functions of local planning authorities in respect of National Parks).
2 Planning committees and joint advisory committees
(1) The provisions of Schedule 2 to this Act shall have effect with respect to the establishment and functions of planning committees and joint advisory committees of local planning authorities.
(2) The provisions of the said Schedule shall have effect subject to the provisions of section 8 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
3 Delegation of functions to councils of county districts
(1) The Secretary of State may, after consultation with such local authorities or associations of local authorities as he considers appropriate, make regulations for authorising or requiring local planning authorities to delegate to the councils of county districts in their areas, with or without restrictions, any of their functions under the provisions of this Act specified in subsection (2) of this section; and such regulations may be made so as to apply either generally to all local planning authorities (other than the councils of county boroughs) or to such of those authorities as may be specified in the regulations.
(2) The provisions referred to in subsection (1) of this section are Part III, Part IV, Part V, sections 171 to 173, 175. 177 and 246 and Schedules 11 and 14.
(3) In relation to a local planning authority being a joint planning board, subsection (1) of this section shall have effect as if the reference therein to the councils of county districts in their area included a reference to the councils of counties and county boroughs therein.
(4) Any regulations made for the purposes of this section may make provision—
(a) for requiring any council to whom functions are delegated in accordance with the regulations to perform those functions on behalf of the local planning authority;
(b) for transferring to any such council any liability of the local planning authority to pay compensation under Part VIII or under section 187 or 237(1) (b) of this Act in respect of anything done by that council in the exercise of functions delegated to them in accordance with the regulations;
(c) for the transfer and compensation of any officers of a local planning authority or of any such council.
(5) The preceding provisions of this section shall have effect without prejudice to the provisions of section 8(3) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (delegation of functions to planning committees and sub-committees for National Parks).
(6) In relation to any functions under this Act delegated to a council by a local planning authority, any reference in the provisions specified in subsection (2) of this section, or in section 290(4) of this Act, to the local planning authority shall (subject to the regulations and the terms of the delegation, and so far as the context does not otherwise require) be construed as including a reference to that council; and in relation to any compensation payable by a council, by virtue of the transfer under this section to that council of any liability of the local planning authority, any reference in this Act to the local planning authority shall be construed as a reference to that council.
4 Delegation of functions to officers of local authorities
(1) A local planning authority may delegate to any officer of the authority the function of determining all or any, or a specified class, of the following applications, that is to say—
(a) an application for planning permission under Part III of this Act;
(b) an application for an approval required by a development order or by a condition imposed on the grant of planning permission;
(c) an application for a determination under section 53 of this Act of the questions whether the carrying out of operations on land or the making of any change in the use of land constitutes or involves development of the land and, if so, whether an application for planning permission in respect thereof is required having regard to the provisions of the development order:
(d) an application for consent under an order under section 60 of this Act to the cutting down, topping, lopping or destruction of trees ;
(e) an application for consent under regulations under section 63 of this Act to the display of advertisements;
(f) an application for an established use certificate under section 94 of this Act.
(2) A local authority to whom the function of determining any such application as is referred to in subsection (1) of this section is delegated under section 3 of this Act may delegate either—
(a) to an officer of theirs; or
(b) with the consent of the local planning authority, to an officer of that authority,
the function of determining all or any, or a specified class, of those applications.
(3) A delegation made by a local authority under this section to an officer of theirs or of another local authority—
(a) shall be made to the officer by name;
(b) may be made with or without restrictions or conditions;
(c) may be withdrawn at any time by the delegating authority (either generally or in respect of a particular application) , without prejudice to anything previously done by the officer thereunder; and
(d) shall, in the case of a delegation under paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section, be treated as withdrawn if the consent of the local planning authority under that paragraph is withdrawn.
(4) Where a local authority have under this section delegated to an officer of theirs or of another local authority the function of determining applications, and the officer so requests in the case of any application specified by him, the delegating authority shall themselves, instead of him, determine the application.
(5) Where any functions have under this section been delegated to an officer of a local authority, any determination by him of such an application as is referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall, if it is notified in writing to the applicant, be treated for all purposes as a determination of the delegating authority.
(6) Where an action has been brought against an officer of a local authority in respect of an act done by him in the discharge or purported discharge of functions delegated to him under this section and the circumstances are such that he is not legally entitled to require the delegating authority to indemnify him, that authority may nevertheless indemnify him against the whole or part of any damages and costs which he may have been ordered to pay or may have incurred, if they are satisfied that he honestly believed that the act complained of was done in the discharge of those functions and that his duty required or entitled him to do it.
(7) In relation to any functions delegated under this section by a local authority to an officer of theirs or of another local authority, any reference to the local planning authority in any enactment relating to those functions shall (subject to the terms of the delegation and so far as the context does not otherwise require) be construed as including a reference to that officer.
5 Local planning authorities in Greater London
Schedule 3 to this Act shall have effect as respects local planning authorities in Greater London.
Part II Development Plans
Survey and structure plan
6 Survey of planning areas
(1) It shall be the duty of the local planning authority to institute a survey of their area, in so far as they have not already done so, examining the matters which may be expected to affect the development of that area or the planning of its development and in any event to keep all such matters under review.
(2) Notwithstanding that the local planning authority have carried out their duty under subsection (1) of this section, the authority may, if they think fit, and shall, if directed to do so by the Secretary of State, institute a fresh survey of their area examining the matters mentioned in that subsection.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this section, the matters to be examined and kept under review thereunder shall include the following, that is to say—
(a) the principal physical and economic characteristics of the area of the authority (including the principal purposes for which land is used) and, so far as they may be expected to affect that area, of any neighbouring areas;
(b) the size, composition and distribution of the population of that area (whether resident or otherwise) ;
(c) without prejudice to paragraph (a) of this subsection, the communications, transport system and traffic of that area and, so far as they may be expected to affect that area, of any neighbouring areas;
(d) any considerations not mentioned in any of the preceding paragraphs which may be expected to affect any matters so mentioned;
(e) such other matters as may be prescribed or as the Secretary of State may in a particular case direct;
(f) any changes already projected in any of the matters mentioned in any of the preceding paragraphs and the effect which those changes are likely to have on the development of that area or the planning of such development.
(4) A local planning authority shall, for the purpose of discharging their functions under this section of examining and keeping under review any matters relating to the area of another such authority, consult with that other authority about those matters.
(5) Subsection (1) of this section shall, as respects any period during which this section is in operation in part only of the area of a local planning authority, be construed as requiring a local planning authority to institute a survey of that part of that area and to keep under review matters affecting only that part of that area ; and subsection (2) of this section shall, whether or not this section is in operation in the whole of such an area, have effect as if the power thereby conferred included power for a local planning authority to institute, and for the Secretary of State to direct them to institute, a fresh survey of part only of their area; and references in subsection (3) of this section to the area of a local planning authority or any neighbouring areas shall be construed accordingly.
7 Preparation of structure plans
(1) The local planning authority shall, within such period from the commencement of this section within their area as the Secretary of State may direct, prepare and send the Secretary of State a report of their survey under section 6 of this Act and at the same time prepare and submit to him for his approval a structure plan for their area complying with the provisions of subsection (3) of this section.
(2) The said report shall include an estimate of any changes likely to occur during such period as the Secretary of State may direct in the matters mentioned in section 6(3) of this Act; and different periods may be specified by any such direction in relation to different matters.
(3) The structure plan for any area shall be a written statement—
(a) formulating the local planning authority's policy and general proposals in respect of the development and other use of land in that area (including measures for the improvement of the physical environment and the management of traffic) ;
(b) stating the relationship of those proposals to general proposals for the development and other use of land in neighbouring areas which may be expected to affect that area; and
(c) containing such other matters as may be prescribed or as the Secretary of State may in any particular case direct.
(4) In formulating their policy and general proposals under subsection (3) (a) of this section, the local planning authority shall secure that the policy and proposals are justified by the results of their survey under section 6 of this Act and by any other information which they may obtain and shall have regard—
(a) to current policies with respect to the economic planning and development of the region as a whole;
(b) to the resources likely to be available for the carrying out of the proposals of the structure plan; and
(c) to such other matters as the Secretary of State may direct them to take into account.
(5) A local planning authority's general proposals under this section with respect to land in their area shall indicate any part of that area (in this Act referred to as an'" action area ") which they have selected for the commencement during a prescribed period of comprehensive treatment, in accordance with a local plan prepared for the selected area as a whole, by development, redevelopment or improvement of the whole or part of the area selected, or partly by one and partly by another method, and the nature of the treatment selected.
(6) A structure plan for any area shall contain or be accompanied by such diagrams/illustrations and descriptive matter as the local planning authority think appropriate for the purpose of explaining or illustrating the proposals in the plan, or as may be prescribed, or as may in any particular case be specified in directions given by the Secretary of State; and any such diagrams, illustrations and descriptive matter shall be treated as forming part of the plan.
(7) At any time before the Secretary of State has under section 9 of this Act approved a structure plan with respect to the whole of the area of a local planning authority, the authority may with his consent, and shall, if so directed by him, prepare and submit to him for his approval a structure plan relating to part of that area; and where the Secretary of State has given a consent or direction for the preparation of a structure plan for part of such an area, references in this Part of this Act to such an area shall, in relation to a structure plan, be construed as including references to part of that area.
8 Publicity in connection with preparation of structure plans
(1) When preparing a structure plan for their area and before finally determining its content for submission to the Secretary of State, the local planning authority shall take such steps as will in their opinion secure—
(a) that adequate publicity is given in their area to the report of the survey under section 6 of this Act and to the matters which they propose to include in the plan;
(b) that persons who may be expected to desire an opportunity of making representations to the authority with respect to those matters are made aware that they are entitled to an opportunity of doing so; and
(c) that such persons are given an adequate opportunity of making such representations;
and the authority shall consider any representations made to them within the prescribed period.
(2) Not later than the submission of a structure plan to the Secretary of State, the local planning authority shall make copies of the plan as submitted to the Secretary of State available for inspection at their office and at such other places as may be prescribed; and each copy shall be accompanied by a statement of the time within which objections to the plan may be made to the Secretary of State.
(3) A structure plan submitted by the local planning authority to the Secretary of State for his approval shall be accompanied by a statement containing such particulars, if any, as may be prescribed—
(a) of the steps which the authority have taken to comply with subsection (1) of this section ; and
(b) of the authority's consultations with, and consideration of the views of, other persons with respect to those matters.
(4) If after considering the statement submitted with, and the matters included in, the structure plan and any other information provided by the local planning authority, the Secretary of State is satisfied that the purposes of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1) of this section have been adequately achieved by the steps taken by the authority in compliance with that subsection, he shall proceed to consider whether to approve the structure plan; and if he is not so satisfied, he shall return the plan to the authority and direct them—
(a) to take such further action as he may specify in order better to achieve those purposes; and
(b) after doing so, to resubmit the plan with such modifications, if any, as they then consider appropriate and, if so required by the direction, to do so within a specified period.
(5) Where the Secretary of State returns the structure plan to the local planning authority under subsection (4) of this section, he shall inform the authority of his reasons for doing so and, if any person has made to him an objection to the plan, shall also inform that person that he has returned the plan.
(6) A local planning authority who are given directions by the Secretary of State under subsection (4) of this section shall forthwith withdraw the copies of the plan made available for inspection as required by subsection (2) of this section.
(7) Subsections (2) to (6) of this section shall apply, with the necessary modifications, in relation to a structure plan resubmitted to the Secretary of State in accordance with directions given by him under subsection (4) as they apply in relation to the plan as originally submitted.
9 Approval or rejection of structure plan by Secretary of State
(1) The Secretary of State may, after considering a structure plan submitted (or resubmitted) to him, either approve it (in whole or in part and with or without modifications or reservations) or reject it.
(2) In considering any such plan the Secretary of State may take into account any matters which he thinks are relevant, whether or not they were taken into account in the plan as submitted to him.
(3) Where on taking any such plan into consideration the Secretary of State does not determine then to reject it, he shall, before determining whether or not to approve it—
(a) consider any objections to the plan, so far as they are made in accordance with regulations under this Part of this Act;
(b) afford to any persons whose objections so made are not withdrawn an opportunity of appearing before, and being heard by, a person appointed by him for the purpose; and
(c) if a local inquiry or other hearing is held, also afford the like opportunity to the local planning authority and such other persons as he thinks fit.
(4) Without prejudice to subsection (3) of this section, on considering a structure plan the Secretary of State may consult with, or consider the views of, any local planning authority or other persons, but shall not be under an obligation to consult with, or consider the views of, any other authority or persons or, except as provided by that subsection, to afford an opportunity for the making of any objections or other representations, or to cause any local inquiry or other hearing to be held.
10 Alteration of structure plans
(1) At any time after the approval of a structure plan for their area a local planning authority may submit to the Secretary of State and shall, if so directed by the Secretary of State, submit to him within a period specified in the direction, proposals for such alterations to that plan as appear to them to be expedient or as the Secretary of State may direct, as the case may be, and any such proposals may relate to the whole or to part of that area.
(2) The local planning authority shall send with the proposals submitted by them under this section a report of the results of their review of the relevant matters under section 6 of this Act together with any other information on which the proposals are based, and sections 8 and 9 of this Act shall apply, with any necessary modifications, in relation to the proposals as they apply in relation to a structure plan.