New planning consultation paves way for small business construction boom with comments from FSB and Nexus Planning
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Responding to the announcement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government that it is launching a major new consultation on reforming planning laws, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Policy & Advocacy Chair Martin McTague said:
“It’s great to see government finally stepping into this area, the bureaucracy surrounding which has long dogged small firms.
“The current planning process is slow, complicated and far too cumbersome, putting small construction firms off building applications.
“For years, it’s been fraught with uncertainty and lengthy delays, making projects expensive before a shovel has even hit the ground.
“So the news of this plan to overhaul the system is a hugely welcome. We look forward to working with the Ministry and wider government officials to feed into this consultation and hone what will hopefully become a more productive and positive planning process.
“Businesses that want to extend or build new premises, whether that be in city centres or rural areas, will hopefully be able to speed up a process that can take months or even years, as well as lowering costs.
“The proposed measures also include exempting small firms from Section 106, a levy which has for so long priced businesses out of building work. This sort of proposal shows that the Government is serious about making the lives of small firms better.
“These plans will give a crucial injection of energy into the small business construction sector which has been devastated for years now by the financial downturn and tricky planning conditions.
“The past few months have been some of the most challenging that small businesses have ever faced and moves like this are crucial to aiding long-term economic recovery.” Fsb.org.uk
Adam Ross, Executive Director, Nexus Planning
“As a matter of principle, the proposed front-loading of the planning process as advanced in the White Paper, with key issues relating to the allocation, delivery and design of strategic greenfield housing sites resolved as part of the Local Plan process, with a streamlined application process thereafter, must be welcomed. However, given the additional work involved in such a front-loaded process, there are questions on whether, in reality, Local Planning Authorities and The Planning Inspectorate will realistically be able to meet the identified 30-month timescale.
“The commitment to the 300,000 homes per annum national requirement, and to the production of a revised ‘standard method’ to achieve it is important, as is the intent that this is binding on each local authority. This approach avoids the need for a legal ‘duty to cooperate’ – a system which has never operated as intended in the absence of more strategic planning.
“As has been the case repeatedly in the past, the change from one planning system to another creates the very real likelihood of delay in Local Plan production in the short term. Whilst the White Paper acknowledges the importance of transitional provisions, it is silent on what they might actually be. The efficacy of such arrangements will be critically important.” nexusplanning.co.uk