William Eichler 21 March 2018

Planning laws should be reformed to protect commercial space, think tank says

Major cities in the North and Midlands are growing rapidly, but the Government needs to take action to protect the commercial space driving this growth, think tank says.

A new report from the Centre for Cities has revealed that cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool are outperforming the rest of the country in terms of jobs and residential growth.

In Manchester, for example, the population of its city centre expanded by 149% between 2002-2015, and the number of jobs in the centre increased by 84% between 1998-2015.

In comparison, the equivalent figures for London were 22% and 71%, and the average across England and Wales was 47% and 34%.

However, the report also warned the urban resurgence in places like Manchester could be undermined by planning polices which prioritise residential development over commercial space in city centres.

Permitted Development Rights (PDRs), which allow commercial space to be converted for residential use without planning permission, are threatening the commercial property which is integral to attracting firms and jobs to city centres, the think tank found.

Centre for Cities recommends that the Government allows cities to be excluded from PDRs. It also calls on cities to relax their planning laws outside of city centres to allow for more homes to be built.

‘Thirty years ago the centres of places like Manchester and Birmingham were run-down and struggling, but since then they have undergone a dramatic transformation, and have become increasingly attractive locations for people to live and work in,’ said Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities.

‘This urban renaissance has brought opportunities for people living across these cities and their surrounding areas, and it’s vital that it continues.

‘But for that to happen, cities need to take tough decisions on how to sustain the growth of their commercial centres, while also providing the homes their residents need.

‘Public debate on these questions has rightly focused on housing issues in successful cities. But addressing these problems shouldn’t come at the expense of city centre commercial space, which will be vital in bringing more businesses, jobs and opportunities to these places in the future.

‘Reforming planning laws to protect the commercial heart of cities – and to encourage more house-building in other areas – will help cities to manage these competing demands, and to continue to prosper in future.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Trusted Assessor

City of Bradford MDC
£28,226 - £32,798 pa
We are looking for people who can
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Interim Programme Manager Family Hubs

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are supporting our local authority client in their search for an Interim Programme Manager Family Hubs. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Training & Development Officer

City of Bradford MDC
£28,226 pa - £32,798 pa
This is a key role in the development of front line staff within Facilities Management Catering & Cleaning Services. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Home Care Assistant - Doris Jones

Essex County Council
Up to £9.81 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting Doris Jones to recruit Home Care Assistants for their home care service around Southend.Th England, Essex, Southend-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Team Leader - Clinical Delivery - Doris Jones

Essex County Council
£24000 - £29000 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting Doris Jones to recruit a Team Leader for their home care service based in Westcliff-on-Sea. England, Essex, Southend-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.