Thank you to those who came along to our Duty to Cooperate seminar kindly hosted by Eversheds LLP.
Stuart Andrews, Head of Real Estate Planning at Eversheds was first to present drawing on Inspectorate reports on the Duty from across the UK, such as for the North London Waste Plan, Coventry City Council, Kirklees MBC, Rushcliffe BC, North West Leicestershire District Council, South Worcestershire and Hart District Council. Stuart gave a clear reminder that even if a Local Plan passes the Duty to Cooperate, it must still fulfil the tests of soundness.
Satnam Choongh of No 5 Chambers followed and described the duty as having three legal parameters: the personnel of cooperation (who?), the substance of cooperation (what?) and the geography of cooperation (where?). The personnel involved planning authorities, county councils and bodies prescribed by Regulation 4 of the 2012 Local Planning Regulations, including LEPs. The substance applies to DPDs and LDDs in relation to preparation and supporting activities where there is a ‘strategic matter’. The geography applies where land use or development or strategic infrastructure has a significant impact on at least two planning areas. A key issue emerging has been the role of the SHMAA and the identification of market areas.
John Baker of Peter Brett Associates reminded delegates that the Duty to Cooperate is really just part of strategic planning, and that if authorities do proper strategic planning correctly, satisfaction of the Duty will follow. John gave some good examples of where local authorities are seen to be ‘cooperating’, e.g. Tamworth, Lichfield Cannock and North Warwickshire, Greater Nottingham, and Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury. In particular, John was keen to recommend that authorities should not just stick to ‘comfort zones’ in terms of consultation and engagement, as this alone may not satisfy the duty.
Steve Dennington of the London Borough of Croydon gave the final presentation giving the legislative, policy and London-specific context and a reminder that outer London boroughs must demonstrate the duty with authorities beyond London. Steve then drew on the example of Croydon’s Local Plan (Strategic Policies) which the Inspectorate concluded did meet the duty to cooperate. Steve recommended regular meetings with statutory parties and cross-party member liaison groups – with early areas of concern arising from such meetings. Prior to submission, memorandums of understanding were agreed as far as possible, and stakeholders were consulted on a record of cooperation and engagement. Issues of contention and agreed changes were outlined in Statements of Common Ground which formed part of the evidence base. Steve emphasised that the duty cannot be fulfilled retrospectively, so a plan should not be submitted if it is not felt that the duty has been met!
RTPI London would like to thank all of the above speakers for giving up their time to contribute to this seminar.
The discussion can be continued on Twitter using the hashtag #dtcRTPI.
The presentations can be obtained via firstname.lastname@example.org.
About our Sponsors
Eversheds has one of the UK’s leading planning and parliamentary practices. It is best known for working on most of the largest and complex strategic development projects in London and nationally over recent years and having market-leading expertise in renewables. Eversheds has a team of over 45 dedicated planning lawyers who command in the field of consenting of energy and nationally significant infrastructure projects, renewables, town and country planning, highways and a specialist team of compulsory purchase practitioners. Its specialist lawyers have experience and expertise in the strategic, procedural, tactical and legal aspects of securing planning consent or compensation for landowner and developer clients at the earliest possible time and in the most cost effective manner. The team is results focused. Its aim is to be at the forefront of new development in planning law, policy and practice. The regional offices work alongside the London practice to form a countrywide team. No other peer firm has the size and depth of experience in the planning and parliamentary arena. The Eversheds planning team has exceptional people who work tremendously hard to deliver the highest quality service.
No5 Chambers is one of the most progressive and forward-thinking barristers’ chambers in the country. It is successful and approachable with a commitment to working in partnership with its professional and lay clients and delivering the highest standard of advocacy and service.