In 2010, the Government announced that WNDC’s development control powers would be returned to the relevant local authorities.
As a result, the Corporation’s planning responsibilities have been transferred to Northampton Borough Council, Daventry District Council, South Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire County Council on a phased basis.
The first stage of this transfer took place on 1st April 2011. The final phase of the transition took place on 31st March 2012.
For further information, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions below.
1. What planning powers have been transferred?
All of WNDC’s remaining development control powers have been transferred to Northampton Borough Council, Daventry District Council and South Northamptonshire Council.
When WNDC was originally established, it assumed responsibility for determining strategic planning applications within its area of operation. This equated to developments of 50 homes or above and commercial schemes of 2,500 sq m or above.
In April 2011, a phased transfer of its planning powers commenced. The threshold for residential development was therefore raised to 200 homes, and smaller scale planning powers were returned to the local authorities. On 31 March 2012, the transfer of WNDC’s planning powers was completed, with all of the Corporation’s remaining planning responsibilities returned to the local authorities.
2. Why have the powers been transferred?
In January 2010 the Government announced the outcome of its Five Year Review of the UK’s three Urban Development Corporations
The review recognised that WNDC should focus its resources on the delivery of major town centre regeneration schemes, rather than the housing growth agenda. As a result, it announced that development control decision making powers held by WNDC should be returned to each local planning authority on a phased basis.
3. Does this mean that WNDC is shutting down?
No. The Corporation was established by government in 2004 with a 10 year lifespan and a remit to deliver new homes, jobs and investment in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester. It will complete its final delivery phase, focusing on major town centre regeneration projects including the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Centre, Castle Railway Station and the Waterside in Northampton. The Corporation is due to be succeeded in March 2014, by local authority led delivery arrangements.
4. When did the transition of WNDC’s planning powers take place?
The transfer of WNDC’s planning powers officially completed on 31 March 2012.
5. When was the cut off date for submitting planning applications?
WNDC was obliged to register planning applications up until 31 March 2012. WNDC has considered any potential application with the relevant local authority and advised on the most appropriate process for its determination.
6. What if a live planning application currently registered with WNDC was not determined before the transfer date?
WNDC still had a statutory responsibility to manage applications up until the transfer on 31 March 2012. However, to ensure a smooth transition of service, arrangements were in place with the local authorities to jointly consider and progress applications that were likely to be determined post March 2012.
7. What were the arrangements for pre-application discussions?
New pre-application discussions may have involved officers from both WNDC and the relevant local authority to help ensure a smooth transition. As always, the contents of such discussions will remain confidential.
8. Will the local authorities be adequately resourced?
The local authorities have made arrangements to ensure they are adequately resourced and prepared to deal with the increased planning responsibilities. This included the transfer of relevant staff from WNDC.
9. Will I have the same case officer working on my application if it has transferred?
This cannot be guaranteed. However, prior to the transfer of responsibilities, WNDC and the local authorities processed applications in partnership, working towards a seamless transition of knowledge and information.
10. Who will be responsible for producing screening and scoping opinions for Environmental Impact Assessments prior to April 2012?
WNDC continued to have a statutory responsibility to provide screening and scoping opinions up until the official transfer date of 31 March 2012. WNDC discussed any such requests with the future planning authority, as necessary.
11. When were WNDC’s final planning committees?
WNDC’s final planning committees were held on:
14 February 2012 (Northampton)
23 February 2012 (Towcester)
21 February 2012 (Daventry)
12. If I had a live planning application that was not determined prior to 31 March 2012, will I have to resubmit it to the relevant local authority?
No, the relevant local authority will assume responsibility for your application as part of a seamless transition. Prior to the transfer you will be notified in writing about when, how, and to whom your files are transferred. You will also be provided with the relevant contact details. The application will be re-registered and the new authority will advise you of the determination process.
13. Will I have to pay another planning fee if my live application was transferred to a local authority?
No, the local authority will have to officially re-register your application, but you will not have to pay another registration fee.
14. Will my application be delayed by the planning powers transition?
By working in partnership and aligning planning processes well in advance of 31 March 2012, the local authorities and WNDC aimed to avoid any undue delays to the determination of planning applications.
15. How will the collection and management of section 106 infrastructure contributions be affected by the transfer?
Any section 106 agreements signed by WNDC have confirmed specific levels of developer contributions for infrastructure requirements. These agreements will not be subject to change. However the responsibility for collecting payments, managing existing funds and enforcing other developer obligations, will be transferred to the relevant local authority along with the associated records and information.
Post 31 March 2012, WNDC will retain a record of what payments it had already received.
16. Will I still be able to view planning applications online?
Each local authority will display live planning applications on their respective websites. You can also search online for historical planning applications that were submitted to, and determined by, WNDC.
WNDC no longer offers a detailed online search function for planning applications. However, the Corporation’s website displays a list of all transferred applications, indicating where it has been transferred to, and relevant contact details.
17. Will I have to re-submit my consultation response to a transferred application?
No, completed consultations and any representations received will be transferred with the application, and the relevant local authority can continue to consider any comments submitted.
Both a hard and electronic copy of previous correspondence have been forwarded to the authority and they will continue to store and manage information in line with data protection legislation.
18. What has happened to WNDC’s records of previous planning applications?
Records have been transferred to the relevant local authority. However, WNDC has retained a copy of each decision notice and published a simple overview of all the planning applications it processed on its website.