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Better and clearer intervention powers needed

Date: 24/11/2017

The Chancellor's recent Budget identified further planning policy reforms as part of the government's expanded target for new home creation, including:

  • deallocation of stalled sites;
  • off-plan releases for discounted homes;
  • minimum density standards; and
  • permitted development rights to demolish commercial properties and replace them with new homes.

Planning Officers Society Chair Mike Kiely told Planning magazine: "Any site allocated in a plan has been through a certain amount of scrutiny as to whether it is deliverable, so what's the benefit of removing it from the plan? We should have better and clearer powers for councils to intervene in that situation."

Kiely also argues that office space is still the most likely candidate for demolition and rebuild. "Industrial conversion hasn't taken off because it's the wrong sort of space, although office conversion is also a sub-optimal solution. There are loads of difficulties with converting or rebuilding big buildings in congested town centre locations," he said. 

Kiely suggested that it would make more sense to pursue housing rebuilds on commercial sites through the planning permission in principle route, allowing site-specific issues to be considered through the technical details consent procedure. "Prior notification would only allow for a limited list of considerations, which runs the risk of omitting matters that could be disastrous on complex sites," he argued.

mike-kiely-pos.jpg Mike Kiely


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