Property specialist calls for fair development

Sarah Davidson

July 10, 2015

The property adviser urged the government to increase the compensation to people whose land is bought by the state by 10% to reflect the general blight on the local area.

Chris Selway, senior director at BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “Compulsory purchase powers are a vital tool to assist developers and unlock opportunities for private investment.

“They are too little utilised by local authorities and we would urge government to make the regime faster and fairer when it is reformed in the autumn.”

The government revealed plans to reform brownfield planning permission rules this morning in a bid to boost housebuilding across the UK.

Automatic planning permissions are set to be granted on all “suitable” brownfield sites under a “zonal system” as part of the proposals.

Selway added: “The compensation review must also be fair to claimants, as larger schemes and complex infrastructure projects create years of general blight in the shadow period before the land is acquired, with no current remedy for affected owners.

“Statutory loss payments are also inadequate and the right to serve blight notices is capped at a ridiculous figure of £34,800 a year. A fairer system would be to remove these and add 10% to the gross compensation to recognise claimants are forced to sell for the greater good.”

Meanwhile the British Property Federation praised the government for the raft of planning reforms announced in the Treasury’s productivity plan.

It warned however that some of the new measures will only work if the government addresses the severe shortage of funds within local authority planning departments.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The raft of planning announcements today really hit the nail on the head for a number of planning issues. We are particularly pleased to see a commitment to bring forward brownfield land for redevelopment and also the focus on local plans, as the absence of such is a real block to local growth.

“In order for these changes to make a difference, however, we strongly urge government to begin a dialogue with both the public and private sectors on how to address the severe shortage of funds which is afflicting local planning departments.”

Leech said the private sector will need to play a part in helping to address this funds shortage, and this needs to be explored fully if the new measures are to work.

She added: “We would also have liked to have seen some commitment to growing the purpose-built rental sector, which has an important part to play in solving the housing crisis and creating a balanced housing market.

“We warmly welcome the government’s recognition of how a functioning and efficient planning system can contribute to the UK’s growth by creating not just new homes, but also the infrastructure that supports great places.”

The plan is due to be released later today and proposals will include stronger compulsory purchase orders to build on brownfield land, while extra powers will be devolved to the Mayors of London and Manchester.

The government also plans to grant itself the power to penalise local authorities that make fewer than 50% of planning decisions on time.

Sign up to our daily email