The BPF believes the new government should follow in the footsteps of Historic England, who are leading the way with enhanced planning services.
Historic England has been consulting with developers with regards to charging for a series of enhanced services such as the option to pay for extended pre-application advice and fast-track listing within a certain timeframe, with free advice.
It’s believed that the changes to the current system will provide a more resourceful service, which will not only encourage developers to bring historic buildings back to life, but will also safeguard the future of these assets.
Lack of resource for LPAs
Richard Carr believes a similar system, as suggested by the BPF, should be considered by the Conservatives as it will help tackle the very serious lack of resources currently affecting local planning authorities.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The planning system plays a significant role in unlocking development in the UK, and all too often local authorities’ hands are tied by the fact that they are terribly under-resourced. Historic buildings similarly have an important part to play in renewing our towns and cities, and these enhanced services will allow developers to work with Historic England to ensure that they can be protected and brought back into use much more easily.
“We would like the next government to be open to the possibility of extending a similar system to all local authorities, which will allow planning applications to be dealt with more quickly and efficiently and ultimately speed up the delivery of real estate in the UK.”
An economic driver
Richard Carr agrees with this philosophy and concurs that LPAs need more resources. He believes it’s imperative that officers are not overloaded with applications as the economy picks up, this is the economic driver that seems to start everything in the UK.