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The clause amends section 253 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It enables applications for a highway stopping-up or diversion order to be processed in parallel with the application for planning permission. Stopping-up orders are a form of non-planning consent, which are made to close or divert a road for development purposes. Once a stopping-up order is made, the carriageway and/or footway concerned ceases to be public highway and may be built on.
The clause removes the delay for a developer in getting on the ground after he or she has obtained planning permission, because currently only then can they start the application process to stop up or divert the affected highways. The developer will make stopping-up applications to the Department for Transport as now. The normal objection process will remain, and even after a planning application has received approval, the final highway stopping-up or diversion order will not be formally made until the planning permission has been granted. Work therefore cannot start on the highway until a stopping-up order has been made.
The clause enables but does not require developers to apply for a highway stopping-up or diversion order at the same time as they apply for planning permission. The clause is a deregulatory measure. The concurrent procedure for both applications will mean that developers make a valuable time saving of some weeks, especially where there are no outstanding objections to the stopping-up order.