Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fun Online Poll: Planning permission

The responses to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:

When considering planning applications, does your local council tend to…

Restrict the amount which somebody can build on any particular site? 12 votes
Force developers to build more than they actually wanted to? 11 votes

Which is about as close to a score draw as you can get.

I know for a fact that rural and suburban authorities set strict upper limits for how much people can build on a particular sized plot, which is often below the optimum density.

And I also happen to know that there is a "London Plan" which also sets upper limits depending on how close the plot is to local transport links, the town centre etc. I was helping a client sell some land ten years ago and part way through the negotiations, the London Plan was amended to allow a 25% higher density in that area, so we promptly increased the asking price by 25% and the developer duly accepted (most of the windfall gains go to the landowner, not the developer). Had the old or new upper limit been higher than what the developer ideally would have liked to build, then the price would not have changed, or would not have increased so much.

And I've never heard a developer complaining that he was given too much planning permission, they're always moaning that they weren't allowed to build enough, but maybe such a thing exists in urban or inner city boroughs? Does anybody have a real life example?