Christian Holliday, Principal Planning Consultant based in Guildford, takes a look at last week's Budget, just 49 days before the General Election, which included a number of announcements relating to Infrastructure, Planning and the Regions. These are:
- New planning powers for the Mayor of London over planning - riverside wharf developments (these matters are presently controlled by the Secretary of State for Transport) and sightlines in the Capital;
- £1m for the London Land Commission to map brownfield land in London;
- Additional funding for the Croydon Growth Zone and the Brent Cross Regeneration area;
- New Inter-City rail franchise for the South West of England;
- Consultation on £1bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay to generate enough power for 120,000 homes.
- Consultation on delegating Compulsory Purchase Powers to Inspectors;
- 20 areas around the country to be confirmed as Housing Zones, to encourage residential development on brownfield land, and streamlining the planning process in these areas through Local Development Orders;
- Two new Enterprise Zones, in Blackpool and Plymouth;
- and also £15m for church roof repairs;
The general thrust of these measures is to deal with specific issues that have been on the planning and economic agenda for a while, rather than signalling any wider changes to the planning system at the current time.