Town Planning Review

Development control in England

Town Planning Review (1988), 59, (2), 127


TPR, 59 (2) 1988 H. W. E. DAVIES Development control in England This article gives a brief introduction to the control of development in England. as a background to a study on control in four European countries. It defines 'development' and describes the procedures for control, and the form and function of development plans and policies. It concludes with a discussion of some of the current issues arising from the discrectionary nature of development control and ideas now being introduced or considered for reform. The planning system in its current form in England was established by the Town and Country Planning Act 1947. It set English planning on a different path compared with those in Denmark, France, West Germany and the Netherlands and indeed many other countries. Three things distinguish English development control from the control of development in those other countries. First, planning permission is exercised independently from building control; separate permits are required. Secondly, planning permission is decided by reference to a development plan and to any other material considerations; the plan is not binding. And thirdly, the development plan stands alone; there is no statutory hierarchy of higher level regional plans or national policies which are required by law. This article provides a brief introduction to development control in England, by way of an introduction to, and contrast with, the systems for the control of development in the four European countries which follow. It must be emphasised however that, under the English legal system, by which the courts continually interpret the law, development control raises very complex and detailed points of law relating to its aims, definitions and procedures. A full understanding of development control thus requires constant reference to the primary and subordinate legislation, and the case law on appeals to the courts. This article gives a fairly general account with some commentary.' The 1947 Act established for the first time in England a comprehensive, universal and compulsory planning system, introducing a new form of plan and a new concept of control.' The Act created a general definition of development which was thereafter to be subject to control. It gave the local authorities (the elected county and county borough councils) the power to make decisions about applications for planning permission for the use and development of land, and a duty to prepare a development plan showing the future use and development of land within their area. It gave the Minister of Town and Country Planning (now the Secretary of State 127 Copyright © 2010 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Copyright © Liverpool University Press.

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Author details

Davies, H. W. E.