With figures released last week that suggest that new build numbers remain low and that they even declined year on year in May 2015, it unsurprising that Business Secretary Sanjid Javid recently announced that amendments to the planning system that could be made. Suggestions are to allow automatic planning permission regarding brown field redevelopment, specifically land that was used for industrial use.
We have not seen any further detail to this and other announcements made previously, however if automatic planning was granted under a new ‘Zonal System’ then this should in theory help improve new build numbers coming to the market.
The Local Government Association however says that planning in itself is not a problem and that the development on brown field site is more of an issue with developers not wanting to build on the land. They suggest that councils should have compulsory order powers to allow councils to buy up sites not being developed.
However the developers may well say the costs of development both in terms of actual build costs and the costs of getting a development through planning on a brown field site can be a lot more expensive than on other land. Suggestions are that they would appreciate more assistance from the local authorities regarding the taxes and the social housing provisions they are required to allow for when bringing a site to the market.
In short the planning system is in difficulty with too many local and national interests working and interpretation the numerous polices regarding planning. We must wait to see what effects the recent announcements actually have for everyone concerned, we can only hope it speeds up the redevelopment of land but an early improvement in available properties coming to the market is unlikely.