Planning proposals address some, but not all concerns

Planning proposals address some, but not all concerns

Mike Derbyshire, Head of Planning at multi-disciplined property consultancy Bidwells, comments on the planning proposals and the impact they may have.

“The lack of housing in the right places is now seen as a major obstacle to growth and productivity, and planning reform is considered to be essential to increase housing supply.

“Overall last week’s proposals are welcomed, although it is noted that there are currently no timescales for their implementation. In particular the proposals to speed up the local planning process is fundamental since this is a significant block on developments. One such issue that is delaying local plans is the Duty to Cooperate, which the Government appears to have acknowledged.

“The dispute resolution mechanism for s106s will also be beneficial where agreement cannot be easily reached.

“It is unclear how the ‘permission in principle’ for brownfield land will operate, but it could possibly use current mechanisms such as Local Development Orders or something similar to Enterprise Zones. In either case, for larger sites with potentially significant environmental effects, an Environmental Impact Assessment would probably still be necessary at the ‘in principle’ stage.

“There is concern however that there does not seem to be a recognition in this paper, or the Budget, that one of the main stumbling blocks to development is the lack of resources available to local planning authorities. Whilst some of these measures, when implemented, might free up planning officers, other measures such as the increase performance requirements for minor applications could significantly increase their workload.

“It will be interesting to see how the Government rationalises the lack of need for commercial sites whilst seeking higher density housing around commuter hubs to feed business growth elsewhere. There will undoubtedly be concerns of how sustainable this will be, despite the far reaching transport proposals also being announced. There will also be concerns about turning towns into dormitories and the subsequent community effects this may have.

“This announcement by the Business Secretary and other messages coming out of Government suggests a trend towards greater deregulation now that Coalition is no more.”

More industry reaction can be found here.

Related posts