Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015
Register of vacant sites
6. (1) Every planning authority shall, beginning on 1 January 2017, establish and maintain a register to be known as the vacant sites register (referred to in this Part as “the register”).
(2) A planning authority shall enter on the register a description, including a map, of any site in its functional area which was, in the opinion of the planning authority, a vacant site for the duration of the 12 months preceding the date of entry.
(3) The register shall be kept at the offices of the planning authority and shall be available for inspection at the offices of the planning authority during office hours and on the planning authority’s website.
(4) A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall determine whether or not there was a need for housing in an area within the planning authority’s functional area for the purposes of this Part by reference to—
(a) the housing strategy and the core strategy of the planning authority,
(b) house prices and the cost of renting houses in the area,
(c) the number of households qualified for social housing support in accordance with section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 that have specified the area as an area of choice for the receipt of such support and any changes to that number since the adoption of the planning authority’s development plan, and
(d) whether the number of habitable houses available for purchase or rent was less than 5 per cent of the total number of houses in the area.
(5) A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall determine whether or not a site was suitable for the provision of housing for the purposes of this Part by reference to—
(a) the core strategy,
(b) whether the site was served by the public infrastructure and facilities (within the meaning of section 48 of the Act of 2000) necessary to enable housing to be provided and serviced, and
(c) whether there was any thing affecting the physical condition of the land comprising the site which might affect the provision of housing.
(6) A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall determine whether or not the site being vacant or idle has adverse effects on existing amenities or reduces the amenity provided by existing public infrastructure and facilities (within the meaning of section 48 of the Act of 2000) in the area in which the site is situated or has adverse affects on the character of the area for the purposes of this Part by reference to whether—
(a) land or structures in the area were, or are, in a ruinous or neglected condition,
(b) anti-social behaviour was or is taking place in the area, or
(c) there has been a reduction in the number of habitable houses, or the number of people living, in the area,
and whether or not these matters were affected by the existence of such vacant or idle land.
(7) In determining for the purposes of this Part whether a site was vacant or idle for the duration of the 12 months concerned a planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall not have regard to any unauthorised development or unauthorised use.