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Government push to reform planning laws could backfire, warns senior planning officer

Date: 5/9/2012

George Osborne's new push to overhaul planning laws is unwelcome, misjudged and could end up reducing the number of houses that are built, the country's most senior planning officer has said. So says The Daily Telegraph about POS President Malcolm Sharp. 

The DT reported on 3rd September:

Malcolm Sharp, president of the Planning Officers' Society, spoke after ministers pledged another attempt to rewrite planning laws only months after major changes were announced.

He told The Daily Telegraph that ministers had misjudged the problems of the property industry, saying that developers' lack of finances and the weak state of the economy were the real obstacles to building, not red tape. The Chancellor promised new changes in planning rules this week, saying economic recovery depends on stimulating development.

Mr Osborne said the system led to unnecessary delays and promised to make it harder for residents to object to new developments.

Mr Sharp rejected the Chancellor's assessment. "I don't think that it is the planning system that is the issue. It's the wider economy," he said. "Developers have hundreds of thousands of plots where they have planning permission granted but they are not building.

 "Instead of talking about planning, we need to find other ways to help developers use those sites." He added: "This concentration on the local authorities and the appeals system is not going to help - it's not going to address the problems the Government is talking about." 

A similar article in the Architects' Journal reported that  Planning Officers Society president Malcolm Sharp says the economy, not planning policy, is the main obstacle to housing growth.



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