William Eichler 21 March 2018

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

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

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.’

Best practice in resident ballots image

Best practice in resident ballots

Residents on the South Kilburn Estate overwhelmingly voted in favour of council plans to regenerate their neighbourhood in October 2019. Brent’s strategic director for regeneration and environment Amar Dave shares the lessons learned for other landlords holding resident ballots.
Highways jobs

Senior Manager – Older Adults – Residential Care

Cumbria County Council
£68,709 - £71,218
This pivotal role requires leadership and management of the Council's twenty in house Residential Care services Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Interim Head of Housing and Regulatory Services

Tile Hill
£400-800 per day
Interim Head of Housing role working with an award winning council in the North West. North West
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recuriter: Newport City Council

Assistant Director – Digital & Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Wigan Council
Competitive Salary
The next phase of our digital journey must also reflect the ambitions across our organisations to drive forward at pace our agendas Wigan, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Wigan Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine