26 May 2020
Flexibility will be crucial to restore the vitality of our urban spaces in these exceptional times. We have seen major disruption across all property sectors and our existing town planning framework is not equipped to address the dynamic occupier shifts that will result.
Presently high streets are quiet; some will rebound, others will never be the same again. The office market is also likely to change dramatically, demand for logistics space is set to grow further and working from home under Covid-19 has cut through outdated and linear definitions of living, working and relaxing spaces.
Businesses and people will require new space solutions, shining the spotlight on a planning system that remains largely unchanged since the 1940s and is in dire need of overhaul and simplification.
The Local Development Framework, with its 10-year-plus lifespan, is clearly too slow to react, and should be scrapped. We need a planning policy that can respond far more quickly and positively to change.
Existing permitted development rights (PDR) have released significant new residential space and should, I believe, be extended. But can we overcome the criticisms of rabbit-hutch developments and urban slums within current planning constraints?
I would suggest relaxing the obligation to build within the existing fabric to allow new purpose-built, well-designed residential units under PDR. Open-plan offices often don’t lend themselves to conversion given their restrictive floorplates, long corridors and window configuration. Better to pull down outmoded buildings and start afresh.
Restrictive Article 4 limitations should be overturned to reflect the decline in office and retail demand. Let’s unleash the full potential of development to pump-prime economic activity and bring people into urban spaces not just to work, eat and shop but also to live and thrive.
Commuted payments should also be extended to avoid unpopular pepper-potting of affordable units. Neither private developers nor affordable housing providers favour this uncomfortable mix of tenures. For affordable housing groups, it can be more costly and unwieldy to manage a small number of units in a private development than a separate, potentially larger site they can control themselves.
The countryside too has its role to play. Should the green belt continue to dictate that sites with poor landscape value on the periphery of towns and cities are incapable of development? Sympathetic schemes can enhance the landscape if they include amenity space and areas for nature to flourish.
We can both protect what is environmentally valuable and allow the release of inferior land for housing supply. Brownfield sites in towns cannot single-handedly solve our housing supply shortage.
Planning must adapt and evolve to meet future needs, otherwise recovery post-Covid-19 will be strangled. Now is the time to embrace different modes of living with good design and flexibility of tenure that reflect our increasing desire to reduce travel and work smarter and greener.
4 May 2020
6-44 Station Road, West Croydon (St Michaels Square)full story
23 April 2020
How Covid-19 could change residential layouts & home workingfull story
3 March 2020
Peabody Housing Association have acquired the Freehold interest in Osiers Road, Wandsworth from Russell-Cooke Trust Company.full story
28 February 2020
SHW’s Croydon Development Consultancy team have completed the sale of two unbroken blocks of freehold flats in Upper Norwood.full story
2 January 2020
5 acre plot with small warehouse sold in Pease Pottage / Crawleyfull story
20 December 2019
Rural Site with Consent for Flats Sold near Haywards Heathfull story
21 October 2019
Freehold Salefull story
10 October 2019
Investment / Development Opportunity surpasses guide pricefull story
1 October 2019
Period Townhouse sold in Brightonfull story
1 July 2019
Brighton Development Consultancy Success Storiesfull story
15 May 2019
Croydon investor tour highlights all the town has to offerfull story
13 May 2019
New Hanningtons Estate – open, looking great and we have office availability!full story
1 May 2019
Develop Croydon industrial round tablefull story
24 April 2019
Tungsten Properties achieves planning consent for West Sussex warehouse buildingfull story
15 April 2019
Westcott Leach – Sussex industrial new-build pioneersfull story
25 March 2019
Residential Investment Sale - Central Brightonfull story
6 February 2019
Tungsten Park, Handcross: 84,000 sq ft speculative industrial buildfull story
9 November 2018
Freehold Sold, Hassocksfull story