Planning Is Key to Getting Construction Moving Again; Louise Brooke-Smith Says a Combination of Good Planning and Proactive Planning Authorities Will Get the Construction Sector Moving Again

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Byline: Louise Brooke-Smith

The very best development which has the highest chance of success in terms of occupation, operation and design is development that has been well planned and well thought through.

Securing the most appropriate planning permission for projects is therefore paramount to commercial success. Contrary to popular belief, this is happening more and more, the economic climate notwithstanding. While some see the current planning system as a thorn in the side of development, others feel 'planning' is being treated as a whipping boy at the moment and has been given bad press simply because of the poor economy.

It is true that there is some uncertainty hovering around thanks to the Government's 'bottom up' approach to planning and the recent Localism Act. This is not being helped by the imminent National Planning Policy Framework which, with all good intentions, is cutting policy down from 1,000 to 52 pages.

Concerns over the ambiguity that might flow from this are currently being addressed head on and the fear-mongering should disappear once the document is finally published and it is clear that basic planning principles are not changing.

What's actually needed now is some positive reaction from planning authorities; less of the political dog fighting and less of the red tape which emerges when the public sector takes a job-creation attitude to self preservation.

In contrast to this, some councils are shining examples of how to get things done and show real joined-up thinking, Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country boroughs among them.

Walsall is currently pushing forward with the largest Local Development Order in the country, covering a highly compromised part of Darlaston with a view to attracting new employment to the area; Coventry is continuing to attract major investors to its city centre and Birmingham has been recognised as a "highly attractive" destination for foreign investors at the FDI European Cities and Regions of the Future awards ceremony, held at MIPIM. …