Developers could get automatic planning permission to build on disused industrial sites

10 Jul 2015

Contaminated Land



Today's announcement in the media implies that there may be a smoother ride with automatic planning consent to build on all suitable brownfield sites in England.

It is encouraging to see disused and derelict land put forward to help address the need for new residential properties, but what impact will this really have to the planning process? The potential measures being discussed only talk of automatic planning permission on suitable sites, but what is a suitable site?

There will still need to be a requirement to assess and mitigate environmental impacts relating to the proposed development, ensuring that end users of the site are protected from potential contamination, to assess flood risk and mitigate, and to review transportation issues. Developers will still need to assess for the presence of protected species, habitats and invasive weeds in order to mitigate appropriately. It is not stated that the automatic planning consent will not have planning conditions attached.

Houses will not be bought and sold without such information and mortgages will not be provided. Warranties and insurances from the likes of NHBC will not be provided and building regulations may not be met if ground contamination issues have not been assessed and mitigated.

Another change proposed is to scrap the need for planning permission for building extensions in London where their height is no greater than that of neighbouring properties. The developer will still need to assess the competence of the ground via appropriate investigation to facilitate foundation design.

Kelvin Hughes, Technical Director at Delta-Simons commented "In my view, nothing much will, nor should, change with regard to assessment and mitigation of potential environmental development constraints should this proposed policy come into force. That said, clients should perhaps consider taking advantage of this period, when the political wave is pro brownfield redevelopment. At Delta-Simons we provide a comprehensive range of services that can assist clients to take sites forward in a timely and economic manner".

For more information contact Kelvin Hughes, Technical Director, Delta-Simons.