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.’

It’s now or never for modern democracy image

It’s now or never for modern democracy

The electoral landscape is now ‘more crowded than ever’, while council resources have been ground down, says Laura Lock – and she warns that professionals do not have limitless capacity.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Project Manager

Leicestershire County Council
Up to £50,823 per annum
The role of this post is to oversee the project management, development and implementation of the County Council’s Major Transport Projects.. Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Programme and Change Delivery Manager (Spatial Planning and Urban Design)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£43,833 - £53,115 Depending on skills and experience
Are you a change delivery manager with expertise in England’s local government spatial planning and urban design sector? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Early Years Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum pro rata
This is a diverse area and we have high aspirations for all our children, starting with... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Programme Manager - Association of Directors of Children’s Services

City of York Council
£50,000 to £60,000 pa
This role will help to shape an annual SLI work plan and variously oversee, facilitate, commission or directly deliver and... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

School Wellbeing Worker

City of York Council
£27,614 to £30,602 per annum
The role will involve providing schools with consultation and advice, training, direct work in... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue