Streetwise developers taking advantage of government loopholes

Richard Carr, a Commercial and Residential Development Specialist, believes that ‘streetwise’ developers are putting the country’s beautiful countryside at risk.

Councils being forced into approving planning

Richard Carr countrysideRichard Carr has regularly used his website to voice his opinion that developers shouldn’t look to build on ‘green belt’ land. In his opinion, UK councils and developers should look to regenerate communities by developing on unused brownfield sites.

However, recent research from the nationaltrust.org has found that some developers are ’gaming’ the planning system to get housing estates built on Greenfield sites.

The UK’s idyllic countryside is what makes living in rural areas of the country so appealing. It attracts huge amounts of tourism every year and Richard Carr strongly believes that such locations shouldn’t be spoilt by housing estates and the infrastructure that goes with them.

Exploiting the system

Many of the sites that developers are trying to gain permission to build upon have never been intended for use by local authorities, the National Trust’s research revealed.

Ever since the reforms to the English planning system in 2012 under the National Planning Policy Framework, a rise in developers exploiting the loopholes has occurred.

The changes were aimed at tackling the housing crisis by cutting red tape and giving local communities greater say over new developments. However, if a local council hadn’t earmarked suitable land to meet the demand they would have to adopt a ‘presumption in favour’ when approving applications for planning.

With a backlog of housing to clear, local councils have been put on the back foot by streetwise developers who have challenged planning applications and undermined the process.

Prevent further risk

The government has spoken of their desire to protect ‘green belt’ land and have tried to encourage developers to take advantage of brownfield sites, with policies such as the ‘vacant building credit’.

Councils, with help from the government, need to ensure that local vision for development is being upheld. Where a local plan is involved, there needs to be more understanding as to where developers can and can’t build.

Scrap legislation

Richard Carr isn’t in favour of the strategy directives and believe that they hinder innovation in the industry.

He maintains that prior to the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 (introduced by Labour) creativity was expressed, however legislation has led to poor architecture.

Legislation can often get misinterpreted and misused by local authorities. Richard doesn’t advocate a few for all, but does believe the system I broken, especially when policies such as CIL are been created meaning that the ‘vacant buildings credit’ has to be introduced.

In his opinion CIL, a poorly thought out piece of Labour legislation, should be scraped. If you want quality development, produce a simple document and leave architectural style and design to the developer.

Richard is sure that Blenheim Palace did not get planning approval and that Sir John Vanbrugh the Architect did not get told the English baroque style was inappropriate!

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