North Wales Connection
Further to our telephone conversation this morning ,for completeness I would be grateful if you could kindly confirm -:
1. that affected parties (i.e owners and occupiers ) are interested parties and don’t need to register with the Planning Inspectorate (and accordingly will be directly contacted by the Planning Inspectorate to be informed of timescales and given the opportunity to make representations and attend at hearings ? Also, will such contact be made by ordinary post? )
2. whether there is guidance on the requirement for a DCO applicant to -:
a)act reasonably when approaching affected parties and to meaningfully engage to seek consensus on achieving voluntary agreements (on a consensual basis) without any attempt to influence in respect of specifying/imposing time limits (or in any other way) in advance of a DCO being granted (to seek to achieve such voluntary agreements)
b) continue to meaningfully seek reasonable voluntary agreements for a specific period in the event of (and subsequent to ) a DCO being granted (instead of merely going through the motions of issuing voluntary document templates so as to indicate an attempt to comply with the process requirements with little or no intention of entering into purposeful discussions to achieve reasonable consensus on the same, and in the event of no agreement being completed with the premediated aim of imposing compulsory purposes as soon as possible in the event of being granted a Development Consent Order.
c) to duly recompense affected parties (such as landowners & occupiers) in respect of any reasonable loss or expense (including professional fees) incurred in respect of the DCO application (and in the event of the DCO being granted in consequence of scheme operations) without imposing or specifying limits .
3. whether there is any redress /sanctions that are available to be imposed (and/or a dispute resolution process other than in respect of Compensation ) in the event of a DCO being granted and the “applicant “ subsequently acting unreasonably (potentially abusing powers) e.g. by not seeking to achieve voluntary agreements within a specific period on a consensual & reasonable basis.
In relation to point 1, the definition of an Interested Party (IP) is contained within Section 102 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). The Planning Inspectorate will write to anyone who it considers to be an IP to invite them to the Preliminary Meeting (PM). We will also provide IP’s with the confirmed timetable following the PM, which will set out the deadlines for the submission of evidence, and they will be invited to attend hearings. Where possible, we will send notification by e-mail. If we do not have an e-mail address we will issue correspondence by post.
In relation to point 2, please see attached guidance issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government relating to procedures for Compulsory Acquisition: attachment 1.
Finally, in relation to point 3, neither the Planning Inspectorate nor the Secretary of State become involved in disputes relating to the compensation or the implementation of any Compulsory Acquisition powers that may be granted in a Development Consent Order. We would suggest that your clients obtain their own legal advice on such matters if they are of concern.
I hope this is of assistance.