The York Council will consider next week its reaction to controversial changes to planning laws being promoted by the government.
Although some of the proposals will be welcomed – they include commitments to green space and tree planting – other look set to reduce the amount of influence that local communities have on what is built in their area.
The government also seems to be willing to address the problem of delays on sites which already have planning permission (e.g. the British Sugar site on Boroughbridge Road) and other derelict sites that developers have put in their “land banks” (e.g. the site next to the Barbican).
There are no proposals, however, which would force Local Authorities to release unused land and empty buildings for reuse.
But the general drift away from community control on planning applications will be seen by many as a step in the wrong direction. Zoning land for “Growth” (areas suitable for substantial development), “Renewal” (areas suitable for development), and areas that are “Protected” (e.g. Green Belt) simply ignores the knock on effect that the scale and timing of development can have on a local community .
The proposal also sets the percentage of affordable homes which must be provided in new developments of over 50 homes, and how they will be allocated (first time buyers will be offered 25% of them)
The proposals will allow retail premises to change to offices, or vice versa, without the need for planning permission.
Existing legislation allows for permitted development rights to be used which facilitate the conversation of existing offices to residential units.
The report also confirms that 14 developers in York have applied since March to extend the working hours on their sites. The concession will end in March 2021.