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Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Sections 13 and 14 - Power of Secretary of State to make designation orders; The HCA as the local planning authority; Contents of designation orders

32.Section 13 gives the Secretary of State power to designate an area in England where she is of the opinion that the area is suitable for development and that it is appropriate for the HCA to be the local planning authority for the whole or part of the area for particular “permitted purposes” and in relation to particular kinds of development. It will only be “appropriate” if making the designation order is likely to improve the effectiveness with which the planning functions for the area or part of the area are discharged.

33.The designation of an area is to be made by order and before making such an order the Secretary of State is required to publish a draft of the order and her reasons for making it, and to consult a variety of bodies including every local authority or local planning authority who has an area, or part of an area, in the proposed designated area, persons representing the interests of local authorities and people who live or carry on business in the proposed designated area.

34.The range of planning functions that can be conferred on the HCA under a designation order provide the Secretary of State with the flexibility to confer only those functions considered to be necessary for that area. Section 14 sets out the functions which may be conferred on the HCA in relation to that designated area. In particular the designation order may provide that the HCA is to be the local planning authority in relation to development control under Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, it may be the local planning authority in relation to applications for listed building and conservation area consent and it may be the hazardous substances authority for the designated area. A designation order may also confer certain other planning functions (those which are not conferred on a local planning authority per se) on the HCA, either instead of or concurrently with, other persons who have them. An example of such a function is that of keeping enforcement notice registers, a function of the district council planning authority, district council or London borough council.

35.Section 14 also enables the Secretary of State to confer responsibility on the HCA for preparing and maintaining all or part of the local development framework for the designated area. Conferring such powers may be useful in instances where a designated area covers two or more local authority areas.

36.Where the HCA is the local planning authority for a designated area, the designation order can ensure that it will be bound by the same legislation, consultation requirements and restrictions as any other local planning authority. The procedures set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995 are expected to apply where the HCA is an “interested planning authority”. In addition, it is expected that the HCA would also need to have regard to the same policies as any other local planning authority, whether these are development plan policies or policies of the Secretary of State.

37.Where the functions of a local planning authority or hazardous substances authority are conferred upon the HCA in relation to a designated area, it can have the power under the applied legislation to charge fees in relation to certain applications. The Secretary of State is given the power to prescribe in regulations fees payable for certain applications, including applications for planning permission and hazardous substances consent. The power to set fees in relation to applications for planning permission is found in section 303 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Regulations made under this section are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. In relation to applications for hazardous substances consent, the power of the Secretary of State to prescribe fees is found in section 26A of the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990. The Secretary of State also has the power to prescribe for the making of reasonable charges for the provision of copies of documents required by or under Part 2 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. Whilst there is no express restriction on the regulation making powers to restrict fees to cover costs, the intention is that the power will be so exercised.

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