Gransnet forums

News & politics

Planning reform

(10 Posts)
varian Mon 22-Feb-21 18:11:23

This government is proposing to deregulate planing, claiming that this is needed to ensure that more homes are built yet, according to the charity Shelter, 40% of homes granted planning permission go unbuilt .

Land owners and developers gain planning permission, which immediately adds hugely to the value of their site, then ensure that the permission remains extant in perpetuity by undertaking a "legal start" within three years.

This might involve laying a corner of the foundations of one house, inviting the local building inspector to view the work and certify that construction has begun, then ceasing the build and covering up the foundations until such time that the value of the site has increased to provide a better profit.

Should we not be legislating to remove planning permission from sites which have not been constructed in a reasonable number of years?

suziewoozie Mon 22-Feb-21 18:21:19

Ah that explains some hitherto inexplicable short burst of activity on the building site at the end of the road. Now ceased but coming up to 3 years since planning granted. Thank you 🙄

Jaxjacky Mon 22-Feb-21 18:33:50

Agree varian used on large development in particular, but they have to be careful as once commencement has occurred, if they have a S106 legal agreement, commencement can trigger some deliverables.

varian Mon 22-Feb-21 19:16:04

Very often Section 106 agreements will require that the developer makes a community contribution before the first home is occupied. so that payment is not triggered by the "legal start"

Jaxjacky Mon 22-Feb-21 19:43:58

varian sorry to correct you, but I was the monitoring officer for a development of 3,500 units of housing and the two developers on site each had a S106, both had triggers due on commencement. I know as I was responsible for monitoring both legal agreements, all clauses and deliverables plus any conditions attached to the planning permission. Commencement is normally a standard condition on planning permission, in my cases it was 5 years.

muse Mon 22-Feb-21 20:05:50

The last year must have slowed down progress for the building trade. My son is in the construction business and whilst they could continue to build, many employees were furloughed.

The article makes no reference to whether the private developers are ones that buy plots to build in excess of 5 houses, or they are single plot developers, who leave them as phantom homes.

There is another reason as to why land is being left undeveloped. I came across this quote today: “The issue of planning permissions not being built out is certainly not as simple as housebuilders sitting on sites,” said Jonathan Dyke Bsc Hons MRICS – Strategic Land Director – IM Land. “There are various things that can prevent consented sites being built on – such as viability and other economic issues such as existing use values and the cost of relocating businesses to unlock and assemble sites.

However, for whatever reason, a review is needed. I don't want to see sites not being used and developers thinking they will get more for the land by building phantom homes but if there are restrictions stopping a build from happening that has to be addressed too.

If your last sentence varian were to be enforced for all builds, it could seriously affect a self build project, of which there are growing amount in the UK. MrM and myself have such a project. We got our planning permission in 2015. We hope to move into our new home, after it's signed off, at the end of this year having completed 30% of the work ourselves. We gave ourselves 2 years but self builds have a mind of their own. Most stressful job I've ever had being the project manager. The 3 year rule is to start a build. It doesn't have to be finished and signed off before the end of the 3 years.

I don't see how it is possible to remove planning permission once a build is under construction. It isn't so much a change to all planning applications but more to the conditions of the planning consent. The three year rule could remain but for larger developments, perhaps a condition about time to complete and signing off. Penalty clause?

Section 106 agreements don't apply to single or small developments.

Jaxjacky Mon 22-Feb-21 20:25:37

muse I wouldn’t want it for self builds, or replacement dwellings, or say a house being built in the grounds of an existing one. It’s the big boys that hold onto land and with due respect I wouldn’t trust Jonathan Dyke further that I could throw him! Viability is often used for various reasons, mostly to the advantage of the developer...I’ll shut up now 🙂

varian Mon 22-Feb-21 20:45:11

I agree that the hoarding sites with pp is something that volume developers can do to maintain demand by restricting the supply of new houses but smaller landowners and developers can also be guilty of this.

I think there is less of an issue with individual plots or replacement dwellings.

The time permitted to complete a development should be long enough to allow for changes in circumstances but it should not be possible for sites to remain unbiult indefinitely without incurring penalties.

varian Tue 02-Mar-21 14:18:18

Property developers who built flats covered in dangerous cladding have donated £2.5 million to the Conservative Party since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, analysis has found.


keepingquiet Tue 02-Mar-21 15:52:03

Sneaky snakery of the highest order. People with land will always use the rules to suit themselves. It has been going on in this country since the Norman Conquest.