Changes to planning permissions spark controversy.
City of London Corporation fights against Pickle’s proposal.
Recently a set of proposals were put forward to relax the rules around planning for office or residential building conversions in London. However, these ideas have been instantly met with controversy, specifically from London councils. It is believed that if the government allows slacker rules around developments it will result in low quality results.
What’s more it is thought that the proposals would be damaging to business development in the UK capital. During early 2011 Eric Pickles, the UK’s communities secretary, put forward a set of plans that aimed to cut the amount of red tape that developers have to get through before going ahead with office and housing conversions. The positives, according to Pickles, include speeding up the entire process which will subsequently help speed up the recovery of the UK economy.
Whilst the ideas have been backed by some big name developers such as Berkeley, Taylor Wimpey and the Home Builders Federation many of London’s councils have strongly opposed them. This is because it is feared that the changes would ultimately take the power away from the London councils, something that directly contradicts the UK government’s promises to give local authorities power in such situations.
The City of London Corporation have been exceptionally vocal about the developments. The group represents 32 local authorities in the capital, they are claiming that the proposal “runs contrary to the government’s stated localist intent”.