Budget 2011: new planning rules ease path for developers

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Mar 24 19:53:36 GMT 2011

Budget 2011: new planning rules ease path for developers
Chancellor calls current system 'chronic 
obstacle' to economic growth, but move could 
clash with promise of greater involvement from local people
Polly Curtis Whitehall correspondent - guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 March 2011

Moves to streamline planning regulations could 
see sustainable projects given an automatic 
go-ahead and councils encouraged to auction land 
with pre-approved permission for development.
The reforms are central to government strategy 
after businesses and construction companies 
lobbied hard, claiming growth is being hampered 
by local nimbys objecting to new developments. 
George Osborne told the Commons planning was a 
"chronic obstacle" to economic growth.
The moves put two of the government's most 
crucial domestic policies – giving more power to 
local people and making Britain more 
business-friendly – on a collision course. 
Experts warned it would be nearly impossible to 
reconcile planning liberalisation with local 
communities having a greater say over developments in their neighbourhood.
Countryside campaigners also claimed that, 
despite government assurances that green belts 
would be protected, some environmentally 
sensitive areas could become vulnerable. The reforms will:

• Pilot new land auction models. These will 
initially see councils auction off public sector 
land pre-approved with planning permission to 
encourage more areas to be developed. This could 
eventually lead to councils giving planning 
permission to private land owners prior to sale and sharing in the profits.
• Create a new presumption that sustainable 
projects will be approved. Green belt and areas 
of outstanding natural beauty will be protected.
• Scrap a requirement that developers obtain 
permission to convert empty office blocks, 
warehouses and business parks into housing, 
allowing the rapid development of new homes.
• Push councils to drop deals they have made with 
developers to provide new schools or roads as 
part of their being granted planning permission 
if the developments are stalling.
• Simplify the planning process with a 12-month 
cap on the time it takes – including appeals.

Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, said: 
"We are unblocking the complex, costly planning 
system, regenerating redundant sites and putting 
the brakes on the years of Whitehall 
micro-management that has tied business up in red 
tape, slowing and stifling growth."
It would end the current system which is "plagued 
by conflict and appeals", he added. The 
communities department said that people would be 
more likely to approve planning developments 
because they will have a greater say through new 
neighbourhood plans which will be passed by 
referendum and councils will have to stick to.
John Brooks, director of planning at DTZ, one of 
Britain's biggest property firms which advises a 
third of local authorities, said the proposals 
could help to encourage more developments. But he 
added: "The success of these changes will 
ultimately rely on local people accepting 
development in their back yards, and the 
government could become the architect of its own 
demise if its drive to empower local communities 
pulls the rug from under its pro-growth agenda."
Gary Porter, chairman of the Local Government 
Association's environment and housing board, 
said: "Local authorities would like to see an 
improved planning system which favours local 
decisions over central control. 
Democratically-elected councillors need to be 
able to make decisions that reflect the 
aspirations and needs of the people and businesses in their areas."
Neil Sinden, director of policy at the Campaign 
to Protect Rural England, said: "The planning 
measures present a potentially devastating threat 
to the countryside and are unlikely to boost long-term economic growth."
The Confederation of British Industry said the 
moves will provide "relief to companies trying to take on staff and invest".
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list