Housebuilder Berkeley this week hit out at the government’s proposed changes to the planning system.
Berkeley said the recommendations in the planning green paper, submitted on Monday, failed to address the issues and were open to abuse.

The government’s recommendations include requiring councils to process 60% of large commercial applications within 13 weeks, reducing the amount of time for appeals to be made and allowing developers to build in so-called “business zones” without specific planning approval. Tariffs, to be paid by developers to local authorities, would replace planning gain.

Berkeley said the proposed changes contained no contractual sanctions on local authorities that failed to meet their obligations and no requirement for them to invest in making the system more efficient.

We urge government to work with us to find more workable solutions

Tony Pidgley, managing director, Berkeley Homes

It added the proposed tariff system would create a conflict of interest because local authorities might be tempted to grant approval to inferior developments with higher tariffs. Berkeley also claimed the tariff system was a stealth tax on housebuilders.

Berkeley managing director Tony Pidgley said: “The social, economic and environmental repercussions of getting this wrong are huge and we urge government to work with us to find more workable solutions.”