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10. September 2012     Print Print 

Colliers welcomes government moves to relax planning restrictions

Experts at Colliers International in Bristol have welcomed Government moves to relax planning restrictions in a bid to kickstart the economy. As well as loosening regulations on everything from single storey home extensions to major housing developments David Cameron has signalled major changes for the industrial and retail sectors. Businesses will now be allowed to expand their premises significantly without planning permission. Shops will be free to add another 100 m² (1,076 sq ft) of working space, and industrial units twice as much again.

Tim Davies, head of Colliers International’s Bristol office, welcomed the moves: “The present planning system is cumbersome for companies seeking to grow their business in the UK. Anything which makes this easier will help get the economy moving again. David Cameron is trying to simplify planning regulations in an attempt to demonstrate the Government means business, getting behind organisations with the ambition to expand. We would welcome any moves which cut through what the Prime Minister has called the ‘paralysis’ which holds up many new developments and often results in lengthy planning inquiries. There has been a lack of speculative development in the last few years which has created pent up demand for commercial property. The ability for those companies who need to expand being able to do so without moving could go a long way towards satisfying at least part of that demand. Above all, the business world needs confidence to stimulate growth and these measures could provide the momentum we need to get firms going again.”

The government has also announced plans for new legislation to change the planning appeals system making it harder for residents to hold up developments.

Tim Davies said that while recognising that local authorities would be remiss in simply rubber stamping every application received it was important to balance local opinion with national objectives.

“We need to establish a balance which stimulates growth and creates a positive environment demonstrating we are open and up for business. Taken together these new measures should be sending a clear signal to local authorities and all stakeholders that the goalposts have just been moved."