Council puts brake on speculative bids

Proposals to restrict speculative planning applications in Manchester have been welcomed by planners but developers have questioned the need for such a policy.

The recommendation features in Manchester City Council's core strategy options, which were approved by the executive committee this week.

Proposals for regulating tall buildings include a policy stipulating that applications without identified end users will not be supported. The council believes that unimplemented permissions distort land values and hinder development on other sites.

City centre group leader Dave Roscoe said: "The policy articulates an informal approach that we have taken for years and has been very successful. We want to ensure that development goes ahead." The proposed changes will now go out for public consultation.

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners has been working on an employment land study for the council. Senior associate director Jacqui Deans agreed that unimplemented permissions have prevented regeneration. But she added: "The policy may require clarification to limit the restriction on speculative development." She suggested that permission could be given if the applicant has secured an anchor tenant.

British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace commented: "It is unlikely that anybody will be doing any speculative development at the moment, especially tall buildings. Ultimately, it will be the Planning Inspectorate that decides whether the core strategy, including this policy, is acceptable."

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