BLP report reveals real estate developers unconvinced about Localism Bill

The Government has failed to persuade the real estate community of the benefits of its Localism Bill, a new report by Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), the City’s leading real estate law practice, reveals today.

The survey of 100 of BLP’s real estate developer clients, found that just one in ten (9%) say they understand the benefits of the Government’s Localism agenda.

The report, “Planning and Localism – Too much too soon?” also found that 93% of developers remain unconvinced that Localism will make planning decisions more predictable, despite this being a clear Government objective.

Against a backdrop of continuing debate about the National Planning Policy Framework , the report highlights the need for further clarity from the  Government on claims of how Localism can improve the planning process.

The industry remains unconvinced of the benefits of Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund as well as Enterprise Zones. Fewer than one in ten respondents believe  that Localism agenda will support economic growth.

Tim Smith, one of the UK’s top-rated planning solicitors and partner at BLP said:“The Localism Bill is one of the most radical changes to the planning system in living memory but there is some scepticism that the Government’s package of measures will significantly improve the  current system.

“At a time when the Government is  determined to  spell out and support a pro- growth agenda, the message from the industry is that they are not convinced the Localism Bill  will help to achieve this.

“Our report shows that the UK’s developers remain unclear about the benefits of Localism. If ministers need evidence of how strongly developers feel there is still a job to be done in articulating the benefits of Localism, then this survey provides it.”

BLP’s report also revealed that not a single developer surveyed agreed the planning system would become cheaper as a result of the Localism Bill. One developer said that a move to Localism would mean: ‘More cost, more risk, more uncertainty and less delivery.’

Other highlights from the report include:

• 85% did not agree Localism would lead to an increase in commercial development
• 68% expect the presumption in favour of sustainable development will have a positive impact on sustainable development
• 89% think the duty to cooperate should be extended to local authorities and public bodies in relation to their relationships with developers
• 71% think that the Government has been unclear about what it says are the benefits of the new Localism agenda in supporting economic growth

The full report is available here.

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