LGA response: MHCLG consultation on ‘Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes’ (December 2018)

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Key messages

  • Councils are approving 9 in 10 planning application and in almost 70 per cent of planning appeal cases the Planning Inspectorate uphold councils’ decisions.
  • Councils across the country are implementing plans to effectively manage change in our high street and town centres. The responses will need to be different depending on the size, location and demographics of a place.
  • The government should resist tinkering further with the Use Classes Order. Instead it should undertake a wholesale review of the Order to consider whether it is still fit-for-purpose and in the meantime give councils greater local discretion to manage change of use in their city and town centres
  • The government should also resist introducing additional permitted development rights which have unintended consequences at a local level and undermine the government’s current focus on quality and well-designed places.
  • We have serious concerns about the negative impacts of permitted development rights enabling change of use into residential homes – we strongly oppose proposals for new permitted development rights allowing upwards extensions and demolition of commercial buildings and rebuild as residential, without the need for planning permission.
  • We welcome the proposals for removal of permitted development rights for the installation of public call boxes and deemed consent allowing advertisement on them. The proposals will ensure that in future all material considerations can be considered through a full planning application process.
  • We consider that the undervalue threshold for disposal of local authority land should be removed completely so that local authorities can dispose of land at any undervalue without seeking consent from the Secretary of State, which will streamline and speed-up the existing process.
  • In principle we support the proposals for listed building consent for works undertaken by the Canal & River Trust. However it will be important that the safeguards are implemented properly and ensure that appropriate protection is maintained for listed buildings and their settings.

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