The South Bank of the Thames and the centre of Milton Keynes are front runners to pilot a scheme to allow local businesses to draw up official plans to intensify development in their areas.
The moves will coincide with government amendments to the Localism Bill to allow businesses to draw up so-called “Neighbourhood Development Orders” - an official planning document for an individual neighbourhood - which are voted on by businesses and residents.
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark will launch the schemes at an event on London’s South Bank on Tuesday, and Building understands that Bankside and Milton Keynes have been chosen.
Up until now, Neighbourhood Development Orders have been reserved for residential areas
Under the Localism Bill, which is being debated in the Commons next week, Neighbourhood Development Orders control where development should go and can only be used to increase development for a particular location, not reduce it. Up until now they have been exclusively reserved for residential areas.
The amendment and pilots follow lobbying from the British Property Federation and other developers that businesses should be able to draw up plans to increase the amount of development planned. Under the amendment occupying businesses, local property owners and any residents will all get have input into the process.
The Bankside area around the Tate Modern gallery already has major developments planned, including Herzog & de Meuron’s £215m extension for the Tate.
The news comes as the government continues efforts to reassure developers that changes to the planning system won’t curb new developments. Housing minister Grant Shapps said the government will consult on guarantee in the summer that all planning decisions will be made within 12 months.