Less than a Month to Apply for Exemptions for UCO Changes B1 to C3
A chief planners letter was sent out Friday giving a deadline of Friday 22nd Feb to apply for exemptions for the PD changes which are proposed to be introduced for a three year period (subject to review).
Alongside the new permitted development rights it was announced that local authorities would be given an opportunity to seek an exemption for specific parts of their locality. If you consider that a specific part of your locality should be exempted from this change, and meets the criteria set out below, you now have an opportunity to request an exemption from these new rights. It should be recognised however that this measure is seen as an important contribution to assisting the economic well-being of the country and this is reflected in the high thresholds we are setting, which recognise that any loss of commercial premises will be accompanied by benefits in terms of new housing units, additional construction output and jobs…
exemptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, where local authorities demonstrate clearly that the introduction of these new permitted development rights in a particular area will lead to:
A. the loss of a nationally significant area of economic activity or
B. substantial adverse economic consequences at the local authority level which are not offset by the positive benefits the new rights would bring
Whatever is a ‘nationally significant area of economic activity’ (is job destroying banking in the Cityb nationally significant but local workshops a km down the road not?), it says a ‘high threshold’ but does not state how it will assess submissions against it, is it simply where the disadvantages of a and b outweigh the jobs from constitution sector activity? Will for example the government be applying a discount rate for the temporary construction sector jobs against the long term permanent jobs created and what discount rate will be applied. Will mulipliers implied or actual be applied? This is vague wooly nonsense of policy making. Although it says it will balance the issues it is not seeking any evidence of the flipside locally, i.e. local housing/construction jobs, so expect JRs from local land owners for irrationally not taking this into account and from LPAs who have their requests refused where the DCLG is not able to defend their reasoning against clear criteria.
I suspect actually this is just a stalling tactic by the DCLG and BiS to gather the evidence to run the Treasury noses in it and using the opportunity of an inevitable legal quagmire to then later bury the policy.