....at a cost (I didn't want negativity in the title).
Following on from my blog on the Forum of Built Environment breakfast meeting early this month, I was buoyed to read today that more planning permissions had been accepted on the northern region than that of the South East.
In fact, figures in the north were up some 22% on their Greater London counterparts this year.
All very positive news. There is, however, a but. It would seem that local authorities are becoming more worried about stretched resources and this is filtering through to applicants. 80% of recent applicants surveyed have been dissatisfied with the time is has taken to have applications go through. This is a problem for the industry, with central government tasked with increasing application successes and time frames, thus stimulating the construction industry.
This is backed with 65% of Planning Officers recently surveyed stating they feel the planning process is becoming too complicated and convoluted.
Invited to the Forum for the Built Environments networking breakfast for “Lancashire’s Place in the Northern Powerhouse”, I jumped at the chance to attend. Guest speakers included The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Leader Councillor, Jennifer Mein, Blackpool Council’s Director of Place, Alan Cavill, and Lancaster City Council’s CEO, Susan Parsonage, amongst others. It’s a year into the government’s proposal to spread the economic weight of commerce across the UK, so I was curious to hear from these influential figures within regional councils what impact the proposal has made within construction. With the vision’s main ambassador, George Osbourne, having now left the Cabinet, I was also keen to hear how regions plan to move forward without this key figure at the helm.