2017 Budget – a raft of potential planning changes


After much hype and predictions on what the Chancellor would do to kick start the next housing phase, it turned out to be yet another budget with the inevitable announcements on planning.

As expected, there was more of the usual, such as extending permitted development rights, but, the announcement on the demolition of commercial buildings and replacement with housing was an unusual departure from the current Permitted Development rights. Inevitably, there will have to be additional safeguards in place and also some form of a prior approval process for this to be successful. But will this proposal like many others before it become dumbed down?

Those of us who were looking for more radical reforms will have to be patient. There were some new ideas, such as a new form of ‘exception’ site (housing being built for first time buyers), but we’ll have to wait to see further details before we pass judgement on that one!

The de-allocation of sites from local plans looks interesting: at present, changes in land designation are at the behest of Local Authorities and their timetable for updating and producing new plans. If enacted, this change could result in greater flexibility where sites are not always materialising for their intended use.

We see some good ideas in the budget but are the proposals likely to deliver the 300,000 new homes a year the government has set out? Don’t forget we are still awaiting the construction of the 200,000 starter homes promised in the 2014 budget!

Will the Chancellor’s proposals and ideas help build the houses we desperately need or should he have gone much further with more radical reforms and legislation?

The only thing we can safely prediction is that there will be many more consultations in the coming weeks and months.

Walkden Housing Development

Inspire Planning Solutions have been working on a new family housing development project in Walkden, being submitted to Salford Council for planning approval.

We’ve been working closely with award winning architects, Corstorphine + Wright Architects Ltd, to submit plans for the high-quality development comprising of 17 semi-detached homes and 4 spacious apartments.

Walkden, 20 minutes from Manchester City Centre, has been earmarked by Salford Council as a key location to meet future housing needs and this development will provide quality housing in fast growing and desirable area.

This is another example of how our numerous years of planning experience in both public and private sectors, along with our bespoke, impartial, non-nonsense and personal approach, helps deliver high-quality housing development projects.

A Heritage Led Development

For over a year, Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd, has been working closely with our clients and a Northern Council, on a housing redevelopment in the centre of a former industrial town.

This heritage led development will feature a stunning listed building as the centre piece of the redevelopment. However, it is not a straight forward project due to a number of surrounding older buildings that need major work and are well past their best!

The Council is seeking to protect these other non-listed structures by not allowing their removal which is creating a ‘catch-22’ situation; no removal = lack of investment + further decline! (not to mention the even greater restoration work that will be required in the future).

We are currently looking at solutions with the Council to progress this project, please watch this space for further news…

Colne Feasibility Study

Across many urban areas of Northern England, the relics of our industrial past can be seen – large textile mills, many of which are disused and derelict. In the right hands and with a little imagination, these properties can be turned into exciting spaces for business start-ups, retail outlets, art studios and conference facilities.

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd have been working on a feasibility study to turn one large disused mill into an art and exhibition space. One stumbling block to the proposed development was the planning policy for such buildings set by the Local Council. They saw the possibility of the mill still being used under the umbrella of protected employment.

Inspire Planning Solutions provided technical reports that demonstrated any protected employment policies that were in place are now no longer valid for these types of buildings and it was time to open up the building for further uses. The number of jobs that would be created and the support the development would offer to the Council’s economic development strategy were also highlighted and will pave the way for an exciting new use!