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Budget 2011: RIBA welcomes planning reform

RIBA president Ruth Reed has welcomed the government’s decision to streamline the planning system and create new ‘enterprise zones’

In a statement published shortly after the budget announcement, the RIBA described the chancellor’s plans as a ‘welcome boost to the workload for architects and construction industry professionals’.

Key points recognized by the institute were the decision to consult on the change of use classes, the creation of 21 enterprise zones, the launch of a new £250 million shared-equity scheme and the confirmation of £3 billion worth of funding for a green investment bank.

RIBA president Ruth Reed said: ‘The 2011 budget recognises the role of the construction industry and new development in stimulating economic growth.

‘The RIBA welcomes the potential for streamlining the planning system and for promoting development in enterprise zones provided that they are achieved in a framework that protects the essential requirements of sustainability and good design. 

‘The latest plans for a Green Investment Bank with its additional money, earlier delivery date (from 2013 to 2012) and moves to become a genuine bank for 2015 appear to be much more ambitious than expected and are very welcome.

‘The bank should play a crucial role in building the new, much needed, green economy and in financing initiatives that can make a real impact such as the Green Deal.’

Other comments:

Bob Whittington, Chairman at Stride Treglown said: ‘We all know that the construction industry is in for a long, slow haul out of recession, so it’s good to see specific items to assist being included. Like help for first time buyers on new build housing and a so called presumption to grant planning permission quickly on sustainable development.

‘However, as with many headline grabbing chancellor’s announcements, it remains to be seen whether or not the bureaucrats can really deliver accelerated and easier planning approvals. If they can it would certainly get things moving again much quicker but even though most of our schemes are very sustainable and carefully designed, the planning process just takes ages.’

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