Raynsford Review - British Property Federation response

21 Nov 2018

Policy area: Planning

Yesterday (20 Nov), former Housing Minister Nick Raynsford published his review of the planning system in England.

The British Property Federation supports a planning profession that is visionary and sees beyond spatial considerations, to promote the economic and social wellbeing of communities.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation comments:

“This is a well-reasoned report that deserves serious attention by policymakers and politicians – and its motivation to revitalise the planning system, capable of effective and visionary place-making, is commendable and our sector is a willing partner to the delivery of this. Empowering local authorities, however, and ensuring they are well-staffed and equipped, will underpin the success of this.”    

Redistribution of national tax

“Too many areas outside of London and the South East are not able to raise sufficient money from S106 and the Community Infrastructure Levy. Redistributing funding collected from other taxes, such as Stamp Duty Land Tax, to those areas for new investment into infrastructure sounds in principle like a practical solution to ensuring development delivers for all communities.”

While there are positives to draw out from the report, there are recommendations that the British Property Federation believes require further consideration.

Permitted Development Rights

“Permitted Development Rights (PDR) was a policy designed in response to planning policy failure, where too many office buildings sat empty for far too long. Breathing life back into underused or vacant office buildings not only supports much-needed housing supply in the UK, but it is vital to our town and cities’ economic and social wellbeing.

“Any trip through our suburbs soon exposes redundant office space that, with the best will in the world, is never going to be brought back into commercial use, and for such situations this policy is helpful. Design quality must, however, be at the heart of any development or regeneration project, in the way that it supports people’s lives, business performance and the environment.”

“We support the drive to ensure that local authorities have an up-to-date local plan and an employment use strategy. As this becomes a reality, then the need for PDR would likely be reconsidered.”

Community right to challenge

“While Raynsford has noted that community right to challenge would only apply to cases that are deemed a departure from a local development plan, we do not support the introduction of this in any guise. We have consistently made the case against introducing a post-permission third party right of appeal, as it will lead to more decisions made centrally, rather than locally, and clog up the planning system. Community detachment from planning stems from rightful concerns relating to unplanned housing – the solution therefore lies not in a new mechanism for challenge but strengthening community consultation and engagement in the plan-led system so that new development and the associated infrastructure can be delivered in a coordinated and planned way.”

Changes to the Land Compensation Act 1961

“At a time when the UK must be building more homes, finding land is critical to success. However, if landowners don’t get the uplift in value from change of use, fewer landowners will come forward with land. This will exacerbate the housing crisis.”