Planning red tape 'stifling' high street development, Cable says

Business secretary Vince Cable has pledged to simplify the planning regime to make it easier to win approval for new developments.

Red tape is preventing the development of new shops, Vince Cable has said.
Red tape is preventing the development of new shops, Vince Cable has said.

In a City speech at London’s Mansion House last night, Cable said that red tape is "stifling" Britain’s high streets by preventing the development of new shops and offices.

He said that businesses were often deterred from setting up new premises and creating jobs because of the complexities of the system.

Cable reportedly said: "At the moment there is very often a presumption against development because of deliberate obstruction or because that is the way that local planning operates, and it is doing a lot of damage, undoubtedly.

"I talk to big companies and they are very keen to invest here on a large scale, and they have been briefed on the planning system and they say, 'My God, how do we deal with this? We want to get established within a few weeks and are told you can’t do anything within a year.'

"That is the kind of thing that has to be cracked."

He said in his speech: "The planning system has been a major barrier not only to social mobility through its effect on house prices, but to business expansion. The market in land is dysfunctional, distorted both by a slow and prescriptive planning regime, speculative hoarding, and a less than effective tax system."

The business secretary also confirmed that the Government is looking at creating enterprise zones, first pioneered in the 1980s, that would give tax breaks for businesses and simplified planning rules in a defined area, according to reports.

Cable said: "There are parts of the country that really want to press on very rapidly with development. The idea of having a light-touch regime in certain parts of the country has many attractions if we get it right."

The speech can be found here.

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