Friday, April 8, 2011

Preserve the hallowed greenbelt at all costs!

Lord Wolfson says Britain held back by Luddite planning rules

Lord Wolfson has said British planning rules are "slow, Luddite and backward-looking" and act as a "powerful brake on UK economic growth". The chief executive of Next said Britain does not have a hotbed of technological development like the US Silicon Valley because "it would never get planning permission." The colourful retailer used his speech at the annual conference of the British Chambers of Commerce to call on Government to "seize the chance" to overhaul the planning system which he argued had hampered "every single business in the land at some stage." In order to promote growth, he said, the "Government should build the infrastructure and get out of the way."

Posted by drewster @ 07:57 PM (1818 views)
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10 thoughts on “Preserve the hallowed greenbelt at all costs!

  • does he not mean Tescos planning rules

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  • Really?

    There is plenty of land with planning permission or banked, Plenty of underutilised industrial estates. Plenty of commercial office space going begging,

    Is there not a silicon glen in Scotland (now dwindling in use because the country simply can’t compete due to too high a cost of living?).

    Anytime a company comes along looking for planning permission promising jobs, it usually gets it. Unfortunately, of late Tesco is the only game in town.

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  • What they want is a green field site with planning permission for the same price as agricultural land.

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  • I know some folk doing the census. There are lots of houses in my bit of Essex which have been unused for years. In some cases, over 10. Maybe we shoud push people who have these houses to sell up or house rent paying folk.

    Why spoil all the nice views when the answer is in front of our noses?

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Call me a cynic, but every now and then I like to think that somebody is honest, and for lack of evidence to the contrary I shall assume that Wolfson means what he says.

    Cue the NIMBY/Greenie alliance who say “Ah, but isn’t quality of life more important than economic progress?”

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  • Ringing Roger says:

    Yes Tinker, the TCPA produced a report a couple of years ago showing that developer land banking not the planning system was the major delay on housebuilding. Now, following the downturn in resi prices, the major constraint on viabilities is that developers overpaid for sites during the boom. Regarding commercial development, as Treasury is pressured to believe by self-interested parties, a shot to the economy’s arm could be actioned by relaxing out of town development rules, but DCLG is trying to resist because in reality it’s a backwards move that leads to huge long-term economic costs related to sprawling cities, increased congestion and road-building, fragmented communties and reduced inward-investment (incl. tourism) in towns and cities whose centres would be damaged by strengthened out-of-town competition.

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  • general congreve says:

    “Government should build the infrastructure and get out of the way.”

    Just got back from the pub via a shocking taxi ride on what were fantastic roads a few years back. Forget building new infrastructure, how about maintaining existing infrastructure first!

    Would also add on an HPC note that the village I was drinking in has gone crazy for ‘For Sale’ signs. It’s coming…

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  • tinker,

    Industrial estates are all very well, but unless you have decent roads & railways connecting workers to jobs and connecting producers to consumers, then it’s not much use. The article specifically bemoans the absence of a motorway between Oxford and Cambridge. I can think of a half-dozen other places where a new bypass or new trunk road – or a new rail spur – would help a lot more people get to a lot more jobs, but they’ll never be built because NIMBYs don’t want them. NIMBYs don’t want new roads because they would devalue their land. NIMBYs quite like the idea of new railways / trams / tubes, but they definitely don’t want to pay for them out of the increased land value that such infrastructure would provide.

    It’s fairly easy to get planning permission to build an office “park” next to the motorway; but getting a new road built is nigh impossible. The scheme to widen the M1 by just one lane is turning out to be the most expensive motorway ever, on a per-mile basis.

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  • – Oxford – Cambridge is a conspicuous gap in the road system – trucks from Felixstowe dogleg via the M25 due to the lack of an adequate SW/NE route in southern England. (a better cross-pennine route would also take a lot of strain off the M6..)

    – Empty houses? – double the council tax – quick ‘n’ easy.

    – Vacant development land? All too often hopelessly tied up in planning red tape – KISS!

    – Why not tax landbanks? Once outline permission has been given, start charging council tax after two years – even if the houses are yet to be built..

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    But if they built a road from Oxford to Cambridge, what would they call it? “The Camford Link Road” just doesn’t sound right, does it?

    @ UT, I agree on doubling Council Tax in principle, but how does it work in practice? What about a second home that is used two weeks a year? What if people go on a long holiday or are in hospital or a care home, possibly permanently? What exactly counts as “empty”?

    As to land banks, again I agree in principle, but why wait two years? Start charging Council Tax from Day One – the purchaser/developer can just knock the expected payments off the purchase price.

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