The Financial Times has indicated that officials within DCLG have criticised the plans to liberalise "change of use" of properties, saying that it could be counter-productive and would antagonise local authorities.
The FT also posted that a coalition insider said that the civil servants had shown "amazing resistance" and as a result "some ministers have started to get cold feet"; and that the idea now being discussed is to incorporate the "change of use" measure inside the national planning policy framework, a document which lays out general planning guidance to councils.
The FT lays part of the change of mind to the Local Government Association and Planning Officers Society who lobbied for this on the basis that there was no evidence that the planning system was causing "undue delay or obstruction" to change of use. There should merely be a "strong policy steer in favour of change of use" in the NPPF, the two groups said in a submission.
John Silvester, Spokesperson for POS, told Planning magazine "We put forward a submission to DCLG outlining our concerns and suggesting certain ways forward. We don't know for certain what the outcome will be but if these reports are anything to go by then things look promising in that a major upheaval of the use classes system appears to have been averted."