The amendment means that these authorities may grant themselves planning permission relating to land in which they have an interest and the permission will run with the land. The planning permission will be available for the benefit of any purchaser of the land. The authority will therefore be able to dispose of the land with the benefit of planning permission.
In England, the local authorities to which the amendment applies are district councils without a county council, a county council without district councils or the council of a London borough.
The current regulation is inappropriate in situations where the local planning authority is the sole local authority for the area.
The procedures governing local authority development in England and Wales are contained in the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992.
Planning permission usually runs with the land to which it relates rather than being personal to the owner or occupier. However, under regulation 9 of the 1992 Regulations the planning permission granted by an interested planning authority for its own development is for the benefit of the authority or, in the case of joint development, the authority and the joint developer. The amendment excludes from the scope of regulation 9 those planning authorities which are the sole local authority for their area so that they may grant themselves planning permission which runs with the land.
The power of local authorities to grant themselves planning permission is subject to certain safeguards - for example, the proposals must be advertised and decided in public by a committee which is not responsible for the management of the land or buildings concerned, and the public cannot be excluded from committee meetings at which the development proposals are discussed. Local authority development proposals must be notified to the secretary of state if they are not in accordance with provisions of the development plan, so that he can consider calling in the application for his own determination.