Simon Stanion, head of planning at Shakespeare Martineau, reflects on the key themes for planners from MIPIM 2019.
“The atmosphere in the Midlands Pavilion has been particularly upbeat throughout, with many exciting development portfolios marking significant investment opportunities across the region.
“On a national scale, the regeneration of our towns and cities is high on local authority agendas in recognition of the need to maintain the vitality and viability of our town and city centres. There is a growing need for development to adapt to modern day living styles, with focus on both buildings and the spaces around them, in order to create attractive and accessible areas where people can live, work, shop and enjoy their leisure time.
“The focus must be to deliver sustainable development – something which, frankly, planning authorities up and down the country have failed to sufficiently achieve, particularly in the residential sector. However, part of the problem is that other ‘P’ word – politics – with too many planning decisions still being taken against officer advice.
“There is also a serious resources issues in many local planning authorities which leads to important major development proposals being stuck in the planning system for far longer than they should be, and consequently, the delivery of such developments being delayed. Both issues need addressing if planning authorities wish to be seen to be actively promoting sustainable development in their areas.
“Government continues to have a key role to play, both in terms of funding and planning policy. Therefore, it is notable that the Chancellor announced a package to unlock large housing sites with £717 million of targeted infrastructure funding, reform to parts of the planning system and steps to ensure new-builds are more energy efficient, as part of his Spring Statement earlier this week.”