Planning magazine reports that there may prove to be little appetite among both housebuilders and infrastructure promoters to make use of new powers allowing homes to be considered alongside major infrastructure projects under the fast-track Planning Act 2008 regime.
Planning Officers Society infrastructure specialist Michael Wilks said that firms bringing forward business and commercial developments under the NSIP regime might see "some attraction" to the provision. Mixed-use developments often include housing, he points out, adding that from a viability point of view it might make sense to include residential accommodation in such schemes.
However, Wilks is doubtful that there will be much appetite among promoters of other types of infrastructure projects to seek permission for housing alongside their schemes, saying that he cannot see why they would want to "take on the headache" of doing so. Wilks said that Suffolk County Council, where he is planning projects manager, is a scheme promoter, currently bringing forward two highways projects. "They are complicated enough, without giving yourself a headache by pairing with other development," he said.
While the NSIP process is regarded as a fast-track regime for infrastructure projects, Wilks said that he cannot see a time advantage for housing proposals. Under the Planning Act 2008 regime, Wilks said, housing proposals would become "embroiled in the pre-application phase for the infrastructure project. Your planning application goes in with theirs, and the pre-application phase for the infrastructure project is years".