The National Infrastructure Commission has published its first Assessment of the country's long term needs. Not surprisingly, there are points to note for the property development sector:-
- The NIC recommends that metro mayors should be able to make planning decisions on major housing development sites - that might help tackle the sort of parochial objections that often delay or blight those proposals.
- The limit on pooling of s106 Agreements (currently set at 5 schemes) should be lifted. It is not immediately clear how this would interact with CIL, or whether it is a tacit recognition that CIL has not enjoyed the universal take up and success that might have been hoped.
- Local authorities should be allowed to levy zonal council tax top ups where public funded infrastructure drives up land values. An interesting idea, and one a number of commentators are pushing for at present. The devil comes in the detail of implementation and levy.
- CPO processes should be simplified with early independent valuations. I hope it is not overly cynical to assume that a desire to streamline the CPO process derives from a desire to advocate greater use of that mechanism. That of course would be entirely consistent with Labour's pronouncements on the use of CPO to facilitate the building of affordable housing, and may yet be a recommendation coming out of the Letwin Investigation into build out of planning permissions.
Plenty for those in the development sector to think on.