New Properties and Planning Reforms During Pandemic Recovery
Will Fast-Tracking Building Approvals Kickstart The Economy?
The government has pledged to overhaul the planning system from September in a bid to offer a lifeline to the dying high street trade.
As the economy struggles to find a way out of the pandemic, the Prime Minister is urging the UK to forge ahead with plans to ‘build, build, build’ in a bid to kickstart recovery. Along with heavy investment into the hope of a ‘greener’ and ‘more beautiful’ country, the government has also transformed the planning system. This has been prioritised in both the residential and commercial sectors so that new buildings in local areas can encourage and support the growth of business.
What Planning Changes Have Been Made?
The changes that have been made to the existing planning system have been implemented to cut out some of the red tape, and allow for the fast-tracking of applications. From September, builders will not be required to obtain a planning application if they wish to demolish vacant commercial properties to be turned into residences. Additionally, property owners will be able to fast-track approvals allowing them to extend above their buildings to add extra space.
Changes Of Use To Brownfield Sites
The changes have been made by the government in a set of reforms designed to support high street revival and to create homes where people would prefer to live. Instead of brownfield sites lying vacant, whilst occupying prime positions, the reforms will make it easier to repurpose the land and turn it into housing. This will in turn reduce the pressure on greenfield land, thus benefitting the environment.
High Street Under Stress
The high street has long been threatened by changes to consumer behaviour, particularly with the advent of online spending. This has been exacerbated further during the pandemic, and now a vast number of retailers are at risk of permanent closure. The change to the planning system will help business owners and landlords by allowing them to quickly adapt the purpose of their building. This will enable businesses to switch from a retail to café model for example, to retain the viability of their brand.
By removing unnecessary red tape, this will make it easier for property developers to build desirable homes that people want to live in. However, there are also concerns that this removes the intervention that local authorities have with regards to building regulations. Will developers be creating units that are suitable to house families? Buyers of these fast-track homes will be focused on more than just location. They’ll also want to know that their new property has plenty of natural light, has premier doors installed for maximum security and is fully accessible for those with mobility issues. Additionally, looking towards a greener future, new properties should be built with best energy efficiency practices to ensure excellent insulation.
Committed To Green Programme
The government asserts that they are committed to positive change, with plans afoot to plant 75,000 acres of trees each year between now and 2025. They have also set aside £5bn for infrastructure planning, which will include boosting broadband, public transport and schools in parts of the country that feel left behind.
The Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, so radical changes such as these planning reforms will be welcome news to high street business owners as well as property landlords and developers.