Extension of permitted development rights welcome


We have been calling for urgent reform of the planning system for some time so Michael Gove’s big announcement which paves the way for the extension of permitted development rights to commercial buildings is long overdue.

But it’s also very welcome.

The new legislation laid in parliament this week means every council in England will have to prioritise brownfield development and be less restrictive about allowing developers to get their spades in the ground.

Big city councils which fail to hit their housing targets will be made to follow a ‘brownfield presumption’ to allow builders to get cracking without delay, and the extension of permitted development rights means commercial buildings of any size will be able to be converted to homes.

They are all steps in the right direction and good news for commercial and residential developers alike.

When you consider that the timescale for the average planning application has increased from three to 18 months, the need to cut the red tape is crystal clear.

The focus on developing brownfield sites should also help allay some of the more vocal protestors opposed to any development of greenfield sites.

But there is still room to go further.

Planning departments are woefully under-resourced and will continue to be a bottleneck for development until they are properly funded.

And there has to be some recognition that developing more commercial sites – and not just dropping houses on the land – is a real priority if we want to get Britain growing.