Reviewing the Effectiveness of Government Growth Initiatives

A report has been issued by the All Party Urban Development Group, in conjunction with the BBF and NLP planning consultancy, with a focus on assessing which Government growth initiatives are having a beneficial impact or offering adequate support within the context of a recovering economy and, in particular, the extent to which they are supporting efforts to get viable development underway.

One of the principal recommendations of this report is to improve the offer in Enterprise Zones and gear them more closely to local conditions. It states that Central Government needs to reappraise the ‘offer’ in Enterprise Zones. Enterprise Zones need to become more bespoke, providing incentives geared to the specific circumstances of individual Zones. In some circumstances, this should include the use of capital allowances for new development. Government should also give renewed consideration to introducing ‘Enterprise Zone Schemes’ to grant planning permission, instead of relying on local development orders to simplify the planning process within the Zones.

The report stated that developers had an overwhelmingly positive attitude to Enterprise Zones. Specifically, they said that while the picture is very patchy, there have been real successes, such as the Enterprise Zones in Manchester and Birmingham, where the emphasis on the simplified planning elements and the availability of TIF to forward fund key infrastructure have been particularly helpful. Those centrally involved in schemes in the Manchester and Birmingham Enterprise Zones are of the view that Enterprise Zone status was crucial in securing key infrastructure funding needed to make some sites viable

The report added that views gleaned from developers and local authorities revealed that while at a national level there is a key focus on the role of planning in facilitating local growth, this is taking time to filter down to a local level. For example, it now takes, on average, four months longer for Local Plans to be declared sound than it did before the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012.

Date: November 2014 Date of publication
Author: All Party Urban Development Group, in conjunction with the BBF and NLP planning consultancy
DCP link: This item updates DCP section 3.6


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