The ‘Great Recovery Bill’

June 11, 2020

By Peter Dixon

As the lockdown begins to ease, there are indications that the Government is working on a series of measures designed to hasten economic recovery and plans to introduce ‘a Great Recovery Bill’ to Parliament before the summer recess.

Newspaper reports suggest that a number of measures to simplify or speed up the planning process are under consideration, including changes to the permitted development regime to permit greater flexibility in the use of retail and hospitality premises (include outdoor spaces) as well as the creation of a new wave of development corporations to take over responsibility for planning from local councils in some parts of the country. There is speculation that more far reaching reforms are also under consideration.

Not all of the suggested changes would necessarily require primary legislation. For instance, changes to the permitted development regime could be accomplished by amendments to the existing regulations and the Secretary of State already has some powers in respect of ‘new town’ and ‘urban’ development corporations (refreshed as recently as 2016). Indeed, one might expect the Government to focus in the first instance on measures that can be implemented quickly and that do not require significant new legislation, even if more wide-ranging reform is envisaged downstream.

We live in interesting times.