All the planning excitement seems to have moved on to the Planning White Paper. But I still think the Class E changes have very significant, and immediate, effects. And some of those effects are really quite counter-intuitive. Here are my favourite quirks and curiosities so far.
Planning applications numbers within London’s West End showed strong growth in July, creeping closer to ‘normal’ levels, but there seems to have been an August holiday blip.
I’ve had enough of reading the text of the new Planning for the Future White Paper. So I decided to look at the pictures instead. These reinforce some of my concerns about the application of the reforms to town and city centres, and to other forms of development.
The Government has laid regulations merging shop, restaurant, office and professional services into a single new use class in one of the most significant reforms of the Use Classes Order since 1987. But, as always with planning reform, there seem to be some unanswered questions.
As UK GDP shows a slow uptick, so too does planning activity in London’s West End, growing by c. 12% on last month.
About £64m has been raised from the Community Infrastructure Levy in Westminster since 2016. Where and how has it been spent?
Directive policy, and regulation, for our high streets wasn’t really working before Covid. It needs to change quickly now to allow them the best chance to recover, through change and innovation, afterwards.
May’s planning activity for London’s West End shows a 50% decline in May but a much slower rate of decline than April.
Preliminary figures suggest that planning applications in London’s West End fell by over 1/3rd in April as the lock-down set in.
If monitoring London’s housing supply is so important, why is there such uncertainty about what is actually happening? The Secretary of State may well be right to urge greater transparency in London’s housing statistics.