Kate Barker Review of Land Use Planning Final Report - Recommendations, document of December 2006 is encouraging in many respects, however it falls short in many areas, with a lot of emphasis on cutting red tape rather than encouraging a system that would improve the quality of life of people quickly. Although Kate Barker did point to the inadequate planning system for creating the following situations:
* Of the world’s 15 most expensive prime commercial property locations, five are in England.
* London West End occupation costs of £98 per square foot are the most expensive in the world. They are around 40% more than any other city in the world, and double that of Paris, the next most expensive European city.
* Prime site occupation costs in Manchester and Leeds are around 40 per cent more than mid-town Manhattan.
Manchester and Leeds 40% more expensive than Manhattan.
"Central to Ms Barker's approach is a belief that any building project that has little or no impact on others should be given the go-ahead, whether it is a private extension, the restoration of an empty building in a town, or even in some cases the development of low-value farmland within green belt areas."
This must be great news for self builders. The subsidised countryside may now not be off-limits - only 7.5% of the land in the UK is settled. The UK has the lowest rate of selfbuilt homes in the western world. In other European countries designing and building your own home is the norm.
The above "any building project that has little or no impact on others should be given the go-ahead". That in theory is the case now. I assume more of a slant to the applicant than before.
The line "the development of low-value farmland within green belt areas." This must also give hope selfbuilders too.
"Barker said planning applications should be approved unless there were strong reasons against them,"
"She called for a review of urban green belt boundaries to allow socially and environmentally friendly developments."
The above means NIMBYs need a very strong case. All it needs is the laws and the first test case.
LONDON (Reuters) - The government must rip up the red tape and
remove uncertainties to accelerate decision making around major
planning projects if business is to meet the challenges of
globalisation, a report said on Tuesday.
Chancellor Gordon Brown tasked Bank of England policymaker Kate
Barker to carry out a full review of Britain's planning process
which business says is hurting competitiveness.
The recommendations in my report provide a comprehensive set of
measures to ensure we have a planning system that is timely,
transparent, flexible and responsive enough to meet the challenges
that lie ahead," she told a news conference.
Barker's report called for the creation of an Independent Planning
Commission to have the final say on planning proposals, removing
that responsibility from ministers in all but exceptional cases.
Instead, ministers should set clear strategic guidelines covering
areas of national importance like transport, energy, water and
waste -- and then step back.
The report said rooftop wind turbines to cut carbon dioxide
emissions should not be hindered by planning laws, and planning
permission should take account of future flooding from climate
Barker said planning applications should be approved unless there
were strong reasons against them, noting that streamlining the
planning process could save businesses and local authorities
hundreds of millions of pounds.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the planning
commission had to be insulated from political pressure.
"A National Spatial Plan ... needs to be put in place by the
proposed commission, so as to ensure that decisions on major
infrastructure investment are integrated into the development plan
process," said Brian Berry, RICS head of public policy.
"Such a plan would also help to balance national interests with
local concerns. Without a plan, Barker's review is in danger of
creating a democratic deficit," he added.
Barker said a Planning Gain Supplement -- a windfall tax on profits
from development of greenfield sites -- should come into effect
She called for a review of urban green belt boundaries to allow
socially and environmentally friendly developments.
More than half of land in Britain is protected from development
either through green belt bans, nature reserves or as sites of
special scientific interest.
Businesses argue that bureaucratic delays in getting planning
permission for new projects are holding them up from making new
investments in Britain.
Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceuticals group, is said to have
abandoned a plan to locate its European headquarters in Britain
because of planning constraints.
Development of Heathrow Airport's Terminal Five was delayed for
years by planning objections, and Swedish flatpack furniture giant
IKEA is struggling to get permission for 20 more stores.
The Institute of Directors said the report was "one of the most
sensible things to have come out of the Treasury in years".
Barker said the town centre first policy for urban developments should remain in place but the requirement to demonstrate the need for a development should be removed.
Barker called for a cut in form-filling and a streamlining of the process so development plans could be delivered in 18-24 months rather than the more than three years it currently takes.
If these recommendations become law then house prices will drop, as more land is available, and the quality of life will rise.
The Land article.