Guide Agent Of Change

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The agent of change principle is not part of a defence to proceedings in statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act or in common law nuisance. However, it may come to be seen as part of a wider re-interpretation of what amounts to reasonable use of land. In Coventry v Lawrence [] UKSC 13 the Supreme Court confirmed that where a claimant in nuisance uses their property for essentially the same purpose as that for which it has been used by their predecessors since before the alleged nuisance started, the defence of coming to the nuisance must fail.

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However, Lord Neuberger considered that there was "much more room for argument" where the claimant builds on, or changes the use of the property after the defendant has started the activity. The Supreme Court did not need to rule on that point, but in any future case in which the same point is considered the Supreme Court judgement and the agent of change principle may provide greater support for the existing land use. The advice in NPPF2 paragraph may affect nuisance claims in another way.

Following previous case law, the Supreme Court in Coventry v Lawrence found that the existence of a planning permission authorising a use of land does not, of itself, make the activities that generate complaints of nuisance lawful. However, the existence of a planning permission is not irrelevant. Lord Neuberger considered that a planning permission can have evidential value, with the extent depending on the facts of the case.

In particular, conditions on a planning permission "may be of real value" where they set stipulations as to what the LPA considered to be an acceptable impact on others. It had its first reading on 10 January and the second reading has been scheduled for 26 October While the bill documents have not yet been published it is stated that it is a bill to require specified planning controls in relation to developments likely to be affected by existing noise sources; and for connected purposes.


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As this briefing has taken the example of residential development a few other aspects of NPPF2 are perhaps also worth noting here. NPPF2 does not require pre-application engagement to be undertaken, but includes an additional statement that planning performance agreements are likely to be needed for applications that are particularly large or complex to determine. It also provides that to help ensure that proposals for housing development are implemented in a timely manner, LPAs should consider imposing a planning condition providing that development must begin within a timescale shorter than the relevant default period, where this would expedite the development without threatening its deliverability or viability.

For a more detailed review of the broader issues arising from NPPF2 please see our commentary here. Keep on track with the general election with our dedicated Election Insights. Get in touch and we'll make sure the right person for the job gets back to you. Subscribe to our briefings, events, and email alerts. This selection will switch the website from presenting information primarily about the United Kingdom to information about the United States. If you would like to switch back, you may use location selection options at the top of the page.

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Close First name. Last name. The 'agent of change' principle in the new revised NPPF. How might the principle interplay with statutory nuisance? What is next? Related sectors. Real Estate Read more. Related services. Planning Read more. Projects, Construction and Infrastructure Read more. Regulatory Read more. Key contacts.

Contact us. In doing so they should: a mitigate and reduce to a minimum potential adverse impacts resulting from noise from new development and avoid noise giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and the quality of life.

But the position in reverse, where new residential development locates near to a noise source, has not been equally clear. The previous framework stated that planning policies and decisions should "aim to recognise that … existing businesses wanting to develop in continuance of their business should not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established;". The inclusion of an explicit reference to the agent of change principle in NPPF2 is therefore a change of emphasis and clarifies the application of the principle.

The new paragraph of NPPF2 now states that both planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities eg places of worship, pubs, music venues and sports clubs. All planning authorities must have regard to the policies in NPPF2 in making decisions on applications and in framing their own planning policy. For LPAs this means that they should have regard to the agent of change principle in setting their polices.

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On development proposals, LPAs should provide guidance to developers on what steps may be taken to reduce the impact of eg entertainment venues on any new residential development that developer is proposing. For developers this means that where they are proposing residential development they should consider if there could be a significant adverse effect on future occupiers of that development from any nearby source s of noise such as pre-existing entertainment venue s.

Where a potential significant adverse effect is identified, developers are likely to be required to factor into their planning application suitable mitigation measures to avoid any significant adverse impacts on health and the quality of life for future occupiers.


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There is a balance to be struck between competing policies and with the housing supply policy objective. One may anticipate that any technical evidence submitted in support of noise-sensitive development may attract more scrutiny from LPAs and that they may attach conditions which require suitable mitigation. Where noise issues may arise, early discussions between the developer and the council would be prudent. It remains to be seen how the application of the policy will factor into future licensing reviews.

One may anticipate, assuming no change in the operation of a venue, if there is supervening residential development then the application of the principle should mean that no "unreasonable restrictions" should be placed on the existing venue. A failure to factor this into development decisions early on may play out in the future marketability of the new development. The agent of change principle is not part of a defence to proceedings in statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act or in common law nuisance. However, it may come to be seen as part of a wider re-interpretation of what amounts to reasonable use of land.

In Coventry v Lawrence [] UKSC 13 the Supreme Court confirmed that where a claimant in nuisance uses their property for essentially the same purpose as that for which it has been used by their predecessors since before the alleged nuisance started, the defence of coming to the nuisance must fail. However, Lord Neuberger considered that there was "much more room for argument" where the claimant builds on, or changes the use of the property after the defendant has started the activity.

Agent of Change: Challenging Yourself to Be One

The Supreme Court did not need to rule on that point, but in any future case in which the same point is considered the Supreme Court judgement and the agent of change principle may provide greater support for the existing land use. The advice in NPPF2 paragraph may affect nuisance claims in another way. Following previous case law, the Supreme Court in Coventry v Lawrence found that the existence of a planning permission authorising a use of land does not, of itself, make the activities that generate complaints of nuisance lawful.

https://isopywicek.tk However, the existence of a planning permission is not irrelevant. Lord Neuberger considered that a planning permission can have evidential value, with the extent depending on the facts of the case. In particular, conditions on a planning permission "may be of real value" where they set stipulations as to what the LPA considered to be an acceptable impact on others.

It had its first reading on 10 January and the second reading has been scheduled for 26 October While the bill documents have not yet been published it is stated that it is a bill to require specified planning controls in relation to developments likely to be affected by existing noise sources; and for connected purposes. As this briefing has taken the example of residential development a few other aspects of NPPF2 are perhaps also worth noting here. NPPF2 does not require pre-application engagement to be undertaken, but includes an additional statement that planning performance agreements are likely to be needed for applications that are particularly large or complex to determine.

It also provides that to help ensure that proposals for housing development are implemented in a timely manner, LPAs should consider imposing a planning condition providing that development must begin within a timescale shorter than the relevant default period, where this would expedite the development without threatening its deliverability or viability.

For a more detailed review of the broader issues arising from NPPF2 please see our commentary here.

Key contacts

Keep on track with the general election with our dedicated Election Insights. Get in touch and we'll make sure the right person for the job gets back to you. Subscribe to our briefings, events, and email alerts. This selection will switch the website from presenting information primarily about the United Kingdom to information about the United States. If you would like to switch back, you may use location selection options at the top of the page. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest.

Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential.