Of newts and planning

‘Build, Build, Build’

Proposed changes to Britain’s seven-decades old planning system

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We are being promised a ‘planning revolution’:

PM: Build, Build, Build – GOV.UK

LocalGov.co.uk – Your authority on UK local government – Johnson launches planning reforms to help ‘build, build, build’

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With plenty of reaction:

Is ‘build build build’ really the best way forward for England’s planning system?

Boris’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ business boost comes under fire | News | Architects Journal

‘Build, Build, Build’ it is and that is the right approach in the short to medium term to stoke the economy up – Mel Stride – Devon Live

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Including from Property Investment Today:

In his major ‘new deal’ speech last week, where he stood in front of a lectern with the slogan of ‘Build, Build, Build’ and set out how the UK is going to recover from Covid-19, Boris Johnson outlined a number of proposed changes to Britain’s seven-decades old planning system. This included a relaxation of planning rules to make it easier for land and buildings to be converted quickly, with developers granted the ability to change vacant shops to homes, and builders able to demolish vacant shops and build homes in their place, without planning permission. New regulations will be implemented which will allow for buildings and land in town centres to change use without requesting planning consent, while new homes will be able to be created from empty buildings.

Could the changes to UK planning laws lead to opportunities for investors?

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And from ‘green groups’:

The English countryside and its wildlife are at serious risk because of Boris Johnson’s pledge to revolutionise the planning system, leading green groups warn today. In a joint letter to the Observer, the organisations, which include the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Wildlife Trusts, say wide-scale deregulation leading to lower environmental standards and less protection would be a betrayal of promises by Johnson and Michael Gove to deliver a “green Brexit”. Such backtracking, which they fear is imminent, would also damage the UK’s reputation in the battle against climate change. The prime minister last week pledged to stimulate economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis with a “build, build, build” strategy, adding that he wanted to drive through the most radical changes to the planning system since the second world war to ensure fast progress.

English countryside ‘at risk from Boris Johnson’s planning revolution’ | Environment | The Guardian

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And finally, an observation from the BBC:

The prime minister has been accused of inventing an allegation that wildlife rules are holding back house-building. In his recent speech on job creation, Boris Johnson said: “Newt-counting delays are a massive drag on the prosperity of this country.”

But environmental groups say the allegation is a political trick with no basis in fact. And BBC News has been unable to find recent evidence that wildlife surveys are unduly delaying development. The Local Government Association said it was not aware of any evidence that newt surveys were unnecessarily holding back projects. And a property industry source said it had many concerns over planning, but newt surveys were towards the bottom of the list.

Boris Johnson’s newt-counting claim questioned – BBC News

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photo: Great Crested Newt:

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