Woodside Link Houghton Regis Bedfordshire

Enquiry received via meeting

Woodside Link Houghton Regis Bedfordshire

30 October 2013
Bircham Dyson Bell LLP - Angus Walker


At the Preliminary Meeting a point, regarding the proposed acquisition of Open Space land and the proposed provision of replacement land was raised. As this involved Special Category Land it would be
necessary to engage s131 of the Act in terms of acquiring a certificate from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The applicant was not sure whether this should be included in the DCO Examination or whether a separate application to the Secretary of State was required.

Advice given

Please be aware of the following process regarding s131 applications, as per your query at the Preliminary Meeting dated 8 October 2013.
After investigating this matter further I can confirm that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has set up the National Planning Casework Unit (NPCU) to manage planning decisions including applications for section 131 on behalf of the Secretary of State.
In terms of what needs to be submitted, there is no formal application form, however sufficient evidence is required to demonstrate that one of the conditions set out in legislation is met e.g. that replacement land is being given in exchange for the land subject to compulsory acquisition. There may need to be some assessment of the relative merits of exchange land against the land being acquired.
Although there is no formal application form, a covering letter outlining the application will be needed along with the detail of the plots, the schedule and a map showing the plots specific to the section 131 application, and any other documentation felt necessary to support the application.
We recommend that you review the guidance available on the planning portal website regarding this matter, which can be found via the following link attachment 1, where more detailed information can be found in the Planning Act 2008 "Guidance related to procedures for compulsory acquisition" attachment 2
As a result the applicant will need to make a separate application as soon as possible and certainly before the application closes to apply for a certificate under section 131.
This application will need to be directed to the NPCU either via email or post. The contact details are provided below.
Email: [email protected]
Address: National Planning Casework Unit, 5 St Philips Place, Birmingham B3 2PW

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