Autumn Budget Statement
Chancellor did little for Real Estate Sector in statement
The Chancellor’s statement announced many changes for property and construction, but whether the changes will make for timely delivery of planning decisions is open to question.
Heather Powell, Partner, Head of Property & Construction said:
“There was a lot of noise in the House of Commons today, but when you stand back and look at the announcements what did we actually get? Announcements about Planning Reform, converting houses to flats under permitted development rights, and extending rates of relief for another year.”
It was not surprising to hear ‘Planning Reform’ – but whether the changes announced will make a significant difference to the timely delivery of decisions is open to question. Housebuilders will be pleased that they will have the opportunity to pay for the delivery of a decision within an agreed timetable with all Councils (some already offer this service via planning performance agreements), with a full refund of fees if the planning department does not deliver a decision by the deadline, but will planning teams be able to recruit to ensure they have the capacity to do this work? Are there sufficient qualified planners to recruit? Will planning teams be able to extend the deadline by requesting additional information, and updated drawings? Or are we going to end up with a two-tier system with those willing to pay substantial fees to planning departments getting priority over everyone else?
The announcement that developers will be able to split houses into two flats using “permitted development rights” will please the developers at the other end of the scale – and whilst this may help the government towards it target of 300,000 a year will it destroy the homes families want, and need, to live in? Will it inflate the prices of family homes, taking them even further out of reach of individuals?
The government has again ducked the issue of Business Rates reform. Whilst the leisure, hospitality and retail sector will welcome a further year of 75% relief on their business rates there needs to be a reform of the whole system. It would be refreshing to see a cross party group work with the property industry to produce a tax system that raises the revenues required but does not create a financial burden that is closing down many businesses that occupy ‘bricks and mortar’. Given the behaviour in the House of Commons today that would not appear to be very likely, a loss for all of UK Businesses.
Would you like to know more?
If you would like to discuss any of the above issues please contact your usual Blick Rothenberg contact or Heather Powell using the form below.