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| 1 minute read


The Crown’s work across the Country is extensive, covering the core activities of Government Departments, including defence, security and the environment. Due to the nature of its work, the Crown is able to benefit from extended permitted development rights that allow its day-to-day operations to move forward apace. That said, there are restrictions on what can be achieved without seeking planning permission, potentially presenting programme and delivery issues that need to be carefully managed. 

To overcome this, the Crown is able to use a special urgency procedure set out in section 293A of the Planning Act, triggering a similar process to an application that has been called in by the Secretary of State. Whilst rarely used, this is a useful tool where there is a need for development to come forward quickly, but a local-level decision may be delayed, or pre-application discussions have identified that the scheme may be refused. 

To further support the delivery of Crown schemes, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) includes provisions to take this a step further and broaden its application, allowing the Secretary of State to issue a development order for schemes which are:

  1. of national important and required as a matter of urgency; or
  2. issues of national importance 

This ability to allow the Secretary of State to issue development orders for nationally important schemes, as opposed to planning permissions, has a number of deliverability and programme benefits that provide more certainty for the Crown.  

However, Crown development can often be highly sensitive due to the nature of what is being sought and the information that can be presented for consideration or come with a complex set of planning benefits that may not apply to the immediate locality. Decisions will need to be cognizant of local sentiment and pressures to ensure trust in the planning process and consideration of the planning balance remains sound in the face of potentially controversial schemes. 

As always, focussing on local-level decision-making and ensuring all parties are aligned insofar as possible, even when utilising these new powers, as the local planning authority remains an interested party in the process. Careful stakeholder management and engagement remain core to the planning process, and early, careful, consideration will be key to a successful and timely outcome.


planning, insight, lurb