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27 Jun
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NJL View on 'Brexit' and Implications

The dust has settled from the emotionally charged reaction to the events of last week and we, like everyone else I suspect, have been analysing the possible effects on our industry and the likely challenges that we may face…..

  1. The planning world in terms of legislation won’t change for a considerable period of time. The core essentials of national policy will remain with all parties committed to economic growth and raising house building output.
  2. The very best thing to do is actually to take uncertainty out of projects by gaining planning consents wherever possible. Whilst implementation of development may be reviewed; gaining consent is a core element of de-risking.
  3. Planning consents being on the books can only assist in financing / funding situations (through added value) therefore being achieved.
  4. The only area where stalling may occur is where there is a positive obligation to buy sites at the point of planning consent being achieved. Consideration may be given to looking at “resolutions to grant” as opposed to final consents if this is a necessary stepping stone before fully committing to sites.
  5. The opportunity now exists to reflect upon viability assumptions that may be in place for s106 / CIL negotiations. With a more cautious outlook on costs / returns, now will be the time to actively seek re-negotiation on sites already resolved to be granted or with planning consent.
  6. Councils will still continue to deliver Development Plans across the country, firstly with the desire to finalise Plans by April 2017, and onwards with much needed Plan Reviews. Whatever timeframes we are working in such Plans must be considered in detail and influenced wherever possible to achieve positive outcomes.
  7. The rise of Neighbourhood Plans will continue and these must be used as a positive planning tool as opposed to a means to stop development locally.
  8. If housing output slows then it is inevitable that Councils currently with a 5 year land supply will find this drying up and going below this threshold. This creates a further opportunity to promote sites that do not yet have planning consent or are not yet allocated. It will be vital that Local Authorities realise that it will be best to have as wide as possible a supply of housing.
  9. If anyone thinks that migration levels will somehow affect the level of housing need then they are in for a surprise. Firstly, projected migration levels at ONS were forecast on a declining basis anyway; secondly the main push on housing need is from localised factors such as affordability, economic promotion, and population changes, notably amongst older people, single households, and younger people in hidden households. These factors won’t change.
  10. The planning system, more than ever, must be a tool to assist the UK economy in weathering the storm ahead and uncertainty that we face. This can only be to the benefit of those seeking to gain planning consent for their projects.

We believe that now is the time to consider specific projects in detail and to take a strategic view on what to do with each in the best interests of our clients. The option of doing nothing or automatically assuming the past strategy is the right one is not automatically the answer. Please talk to us if you wish to discuss specific queries arising from the Brexit vote.

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