The Budget: What do we want to see?

11 Mar 20

The current notion that clients would spend a small fortune securing an allocation and/or planning permission for a major residential-led scheme that is shackled by a three-year outline planning consent is nonsensical.

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Today (Wednesday 11th March) we see rookie Chancellor Rishi Sunak release the long-awaited Budget that will set out plans to fulfil the Boris Johnson mantra of ‘levelling up’ all parts of the country.

Commentary in the lead up to the Budget suggests the Chancellor will rip up the austerity measures maintained by his predecessor Sajid Javid and loosen the purse strings. Whilst an emphasis on topics such as the Northern Powerhouse, the environment and, of course, the coronavirus outbreak is expected, the Budget’s attitude towards housing and planning is not as easy to predict.

So, instead of trying to predict what will be in this year’s Budget, we’re focussing on what we would like to see for our sector.

One thing Iceni will be looking out for will be the movement towards the extension of Development Consent Orders (DCOs) to different types of planning applications. We all know the benefits DCOs can bring, particularly for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), but by not extending them to cover strategic urban extensions and new settlements the government is missing a trick, according to Iceni’s CEO Ian Anderson:

“The current notion that clients would spend a small fortune securing an allocation and/or planning permission for a major residential-led scheme that is shackled by a three-year outline planning consent is nonsensical. These could be supported by local authorities, rather than done to them, so consultation could still occur. However, it would then give the promotor the benefit of CPO powers, and allow for the phasing of development to come through in more of a permit-based approach. In essence, all the benefits offered to a project like DP World London Gateway would be there to benefit residential-led strategic schemes.” DCOs are currently limited to designated NSIPs.

Of course, with the Planning White Paper eagerly anticipated, there could be big changes on the horizon. Whilst we wait to see if Sunak will lead the way today with a clear steer towards a more practical planning system, both in relation to DCOs and wider legislative issues, one thing is for certain, the Budget will give us a good indication as to how a strong majority in government can impact our sector.

Iceni Engagement will be closely monitoring the Budget today and will provide a further update on the key announcements.

Daniel Simpson Junior Consultant,Engagement

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