17 September 2014
Dear Business colleagues,
Technical consultation on Planning
You may be aware the government is consulting on its proposed changes to planning regulations at the moment. The deadline for comments is next Friday 26th September and I would urge you as a collective of business owners to make your views known.
Lambeth Council will be submitting a formal response but I want to raise our concerns with you directly.
While we welcome the stated aims of the proposed reforms to make the planning system less “convoluted, expensive, confusing, expensive and in many cases ineffective”, the reality is a further attack on the planning powers of a local authority with worrying implications for businesses.
The proposals will limit our ability to protect valuable employment land and manage local shopping centres. As it becomes easier for commercial spaces to be converted for residential use, businesses face the real risk of inflated rents and being driving out of town centres.
The proposals will also restrict our ability to secure good quality housing – particularly affordable housing which, as you know, is desperately needed in London.
In short, it is our opinion that the government’s ill thought out approach will:
- Kill the High Street
- Drive out SMEs from the borough
- Kill the central London economy
- Create ‘beds in sheds’
- Jeopardise further affordable housing provision
The government’s ‘scatter-gun’ proposals create additional layers of confusion in a system that has already undergone countless amendments and proposals. This has left not just the community but many in the development industry confused and perplexed. If these changes are adopted local authorities and the community will be powerless to control, manage or mitigate unwanted development.
I believe the proposals will be especially detrimental to Lambeth’s thriving SME business sector. If we are to continue to encourage and support the wide range of entrepreneurial and innovative businesses across the borough, then I hope you will use your role as a voice of the business community to object to the proposals.
Further details of the planned changes and information about how to submit a comment are attached.
Councillor Jack Hopkins