The Welsh Government have published a consultation document proposing that para 6.2 of TAN1 is dis-applied for a temporary period.
So what would the practical effects be? PPW will remain, including para 2.1.2 (which is no more than established planning procedure) and paragraphs 2.14.4, 4.2.4 and 9.2.3. In the circumstances where there is less than a five year supply of housing (and in some instances significantly less) with no prospect of that being remedied other than through the grant of planning permission it remains open to the decision maker to attach the weight that he/she sees fit to the benefits of a scheme to improving housing land supply, any other benefits, and the extent to which the proposed development either accords or conflicts with key principles and policy objectives of sustainable development (the second bullet point of Cohesive Communities must be engaged in this circumstance). Material considerations and their weight is a matter for the decision maker.
Admittedly this is a less commodious route to get to the point but not beyond comprehension if the circumstances dictate.
On a procedural point the merit or advantages of dis-applying this paragraph for a period of time is not obvious, noting that the consultation document refers to the “dis-application of paragraph 6.2 would be for the duration of a wide-ranging review of the delivery of housing through the planning system which it is proposed to undertake this summer”.
It is implied that this would somehow “alleviate some of the immediate pressures on local planning authorities when dealing with speculative planning applications for housing and to allow them the capacity to focus on LDP preparation and review”. If this is the reasoned justification it is incumbent on WG to demonstrate what evidence exists to substantiate that the removal of para 6.2 for the summer would provide capacity to focus on LDP preparation and review. Put another way, does the proposed action bear any relationship with the intended outcome of the policy? Arguably not, and this seems at best irrational if not perverse.
Equally, what evidence is there of an increase in speculative applications? The language here betrays the fact that these are planning applications that planning procedure permits and are grounded in firstly, the underlying purpose of the planning system in providing for an adequate and continuous supply of housing land to meet society’s needs; secondly, sustainable development objectives of ensuring that all local communities have sufficient good quality housing for their needs; and thirdly, the national housing strategy to provide more housing.
In reality of course, no one can live in a planning permission. A delivery test is something that needs to be advocated alongside the simple land supply calculation.