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to The Alma Road Car Park Campaign
and Country Planning Act, 1972 - Amendment
The following is an extract from
PLANNING Magazine, 18th December 1998
Unitary councils have been handed special
powers to grant approval for development on their own land and
sell it on with the benefit of planning permission.
An amendment to the Town and Country Planning
General Regulations 1992, effective since Tuesday, has been hailed
as removing a hurdle in efforts to stimulate urban regeneration.
It follows the Government's announcement that councils will be
given greater freedom to sell land below market value.
Under the existing regulations, which will
continue to apply to two-tier authorities, local authorities
can only grant permission for the benefit of themselves or joint
developers in such circumstances.
RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) planning
policy chair Nick Davies described the government's move as "very
important for urban regeneration, but only half of what is required."
He said it needed to be accompanied by
a strengthening of compulsory purchase powers.
National Housing and Town Planning Council director Kelvin MacDonald
said the amendment would enable authorities to implement regeneration
schemes without having to do the developing themselves.
He said that the new powers could be seen
as being open to abuse if unitary authorities prepared sites
with the sole intention of reaping a capital gain for themselves,
but added that this represented a "tiny downside compared
with the positive benefits of the change".
Under the direction, any permission which
represents a departure from the local authority's development
plan would have to be referred to the Secretary of State. A local
Government association spokeswoman pointed out that this requirement
will provide a safeguard against councils abusing their new flexibility."
The possibility that local councils can
sell land to developers at a knock down price should set alarm
bells ringing. As with any legislation, there are upsides and
downsides. The intention, no doubt laudable, to sell off land
to developers, complete with the requisite Plannning permission,
is certainly open to abuse. Whilst it may well help in the stated
aim to assist in urban regeneration in some situations, in Windsor
it could well have lead to the permanent destruction of Open
Space, a much needed facility already in short supply in Windsor,
such as the Vansittart Recreation Ground.
We shall be keeping an eye on the way these
additional powers are used by WMBC and we heartily recommend
that all residents do so also.
us, email Thamesweb.