Latest Public Sector News

30.05.13

New planning rules are ‘panic measure’ – LGA

New planning rules come into force today to allow businesses and developers to change the use of buildings from one type to another, without needing planning permission, for up to two years.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged Government to let local areas decide for themselves whether a change of use is appropriate, but communities’ secretary Eric Pickles has said it will cut red tape for business.

Announcing the rules earlier this month, he said: “There is huge untapped potential in the many disused existing buildings we have and we’re determined that every one of them is put to good use.

“By simplifying the process and relaxing some stringent rules we can provide a helping hand to those eager to boost their high streets or rural communities by cutting the time and costs needed to start up new businesses.

“These reforms will provide a boost to the exciting free schools programme. It will make it easier for parents and community activists to convert buildings into new schools.

“We’re also providing a great opportunity for outdated, redundant or underused offices to be brought back to life by converting them into homes, protecting the green belt and countryside at the same time. This will also increase footfall and provide knock-on benefits to the wider community.”

Cllr Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA's Environment and Housing Board, said: “People tell us that they're fed up of having their local high streets filled with betting shops and payday loan companies.

“We have been clear that if we're to get people back out shopping in their local town centres, we need to give them more say on what type of businesses and shops open there. Instead, from today they will have less.

“There's a very real danger that, in chasing a short-term boost, this panic measure could end up creating real problems in our high streets and doing lasting damage to our town and cities. This could potentially drain the life from our high streets.

“Planning controls are not there to make life difficult for new businesses but as a form of democratic quality control which ensures new shops and businesses will be good for the area and the people who live there. Councils are currently approving more planning applications than ever before.

“We desperately need to boost struggling high streets and help new businesses take over empty buildings, but a blanket national policy is not the answer. Councils aren't seeking to stop bookies from opening up altogether, but it's important that local areas can have a say.

“Most people would be more inclined to visit their local high streets if they saw a resurgence in the sort of cherished local, good quality shops, restaurants and businesses which can be at the very heart of communities. Instead, this blanket national policy will make it easier than ever for high streets to become ghettos for clusters of here-today, gone-tomorrow money lenders and betting shops.

“Converting offices into flats, cafes into betting shops or businesses into schools can have a huge impact on the character of local areas and people will rightly feel that they should be entitled to have a say.”

(Image: Martin Pettitt)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

02/09/2019Northern Powerhouse Partner aims to connect the North once again

In February this year, official Northern Powerhouse Partner, Cognitive Publishing, delivered EvoNorth 2019.  The two day event was designed to amplify and highlight futur... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >