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Brownfield land development could be imposed

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Local authorities could be forced to accept development on brownfield land under the Treasury’s ‘productivity plan’, unveiled today.

The paper said the government would legislate to introduce “automatic permission in principle” on brownfield sites identified on the proposed brownfield land register.

“On brownfield sites, this will give England a ‘zonal’ system, like those seen in many other countries, reducing unnecessary delay and uncertainty for brownfield development,” it said.

The document also sets out proposals to to impose local plans on councils which fail to agree their own. Local plans outline where development can take place in an area.

In a speech in Birmingham this morning business secretary Sajid Javid said: “If a council fails to produce a suitable local plan we will have it done for them.”

The plans for part of the government’s ‘Fixing the foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’ policy paper.

Responding, the Local Government Associaton’s housing spokesman Mike Jones (Con), who is also leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said councils wanted brownfield sites developed and thought many of the governments proposals would help to ensure they are.

“However, it is important that we ensure the planning system remains proportionate and that local communities continue to have a say,” he said.

Cllr Jones added: “The fact is, planning is not what’s holding up development – it’s the cost of remediation and infrastructure. This is why the LGA has suggested measures such as devolution of funding for housing and infrastructure and introducing a sequential test for brownfield land, which would make sure developers prioritise brownfield sites.”

More to follow.

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