New guidance could unlock brownfield sites

Developing brownfield sites in the UK could become far easier following new guidance published alongside the chancellor’s Budget statement last week.

Compulsory purchase regime

Richard Carr Brownfield sites

The industry should focus on redeveloping brownfield sites according to Richard Carr

Richard Carr, a Commercial and Residential Development Specialist, is pleased to see the government trying to encourage brownfield development. He believes building taller on unused sites has the potential to regenerate communities across the UK.

The country’s government are keen to keep development away from the ‘green belt’ and Richard believes this latest piece of guidance delivered by the chancellor George Osborne once again reaffirms their policy.

His final budget before this year’s general election outlined plans for a consultation on changes to the compulsory purchase system; he also stated his desire to update guidance and provide a web resource for developers, similar to how planning guidance has moved online.

Simpler

Since the announcement, the plans have been widely welcomed by planning professionals who believe that the system will be made far simpler and clearer as a result. The feeling amongst professionals at the moment is that the compulsory purchase regime is costly and complex.

A change to the guidance is hoped to encourage public sector bodies to provide higher levels of compensation. The consultation stated: “public sector acquisition bodes nervous about paying more than the minimum possible expression of market value and loss payments for individual pieces of land, given their responsibility to achieve best value for taxpayers’ money.”

The consultation also proposed further changes to the current system, such as:

  • Statutory targets
  • Plans to alter the High Court challenge process
  • CPO able to delegate decisions to inspectors
  • Timescales for the confirmation stage of the compulsory purchase order

Liz Loughran, director at consultancy Line Planning, told Planning Resource: “while the consultation proposals would help to speed up the process, they would also make it fairer. The system causes a huge amount of aggravation in communities that the compulsory purchase regime at the moment cannot resolve.”

Remove silly legislation

Richard Carr believes that like many facets of the government, it’s time to peal the onion back, so to speak! In his opinion silly legislation should be removed and if you want to build 200,000 homes a year then put a three year moratorium on all CIL, s106 and other contributions that developers are lumbered with.

Make it compulsory for LAs to register applications within seven days pre applications within the same time period. Also, the government should allow buildings to be built alongside Lowland Heath!