Architects wary of council plan to block speculative schemes
Architects and planners are sceptical of proposals by Manchester City Council to stop developers applying for planning permission solely to increase the value of land
The move, outlined in a draft core strategy to be debated this week, would see the council refusing planning permission for tall buildings that are ‘speculative’ and don’t have identified end users.
The council believes that ‘unimplemented planning permissions for tall buildings can distort the market in an unacceptable manner’.
Gary Halman, partner at HOW Planning, said: ‘It’s certainly the case that there are a number of sites that have consent but no prospect that they’ll be built, especially residential and hotel schemes. I can understand where the council is coming from, it artificially inflates land owners’ expectations of price. But I don’t see how the council could prove if they’re serious or not.’
Manchester-based Arca Architects boss John Lee agrees: ‘The promotion of tall buildings is something the council has benefited from, they share in the glory of the development going forward. A better way to do it would be from a design point of view. Quality should be the main driver.’
Manchester City Council’s executive will consider the document this week and, if approved, it could be adopted into the city’s planning guidance.