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Manor Royal BID responds to Government consultation on planning reform

Manor Royal has issued a response to Government consultation on proposed reforms to the planning system.

The Department for Communities and Local Government's consultation invited comments on a range of changes, including making it easier for communities to create Neighbourhood Plans and the extension of permitted development rights but the business district focused its response to those elements felt to be of most significance to the future functions and form of Manor Royal.

Asked if Manor Royal agreed that there should be permitted development rights for light industrial and storage and distribution buildings to change to residential use, MRBD executive director Steve Sawyer said this was not appropriate for the business district.

"We are concerned that there is distinct lack of control or accountability for the economic function of places like Manor Royal and this can lead to occupied buildings being converted and tenants served notice," he said. "It is important that economic centres like Manor Royal are retained for business use and landlords and property owners encouraged to re-develop sites for these uses."

The availability of employment land in Manor Royal is already in short supply, as evidenced by Crawley Borough Council's Economic Growth Assessment, and the possibility of a second runway at Gatwick Airport would make it even more important to protect land designated for employment uses.

"The effect of these changes, as we have already seen, is to allow buildings to be converted in an unplanned and uncontrollable way setting different uses in close proximity to one another and can have the effect of disrupting normal business operations," Mr Sawyer continued.

"These kinds of changes can only be made in a planned and considered way that this policy change does not allow because it effectively removes any controls that take account of the economic function of a place like Manor Royal and incentivises owners to consider converting commercial buildings - underused or not - to residential."

He added: "As well as eroding much needed employment land in Manor Royal and disrupting business operations, the other unintended consequence of this change has been to undermine the reputation of Manor Royal as a business location by introducing other uses that do not complement the existing business use.

"These allowable changes are also unpopular with the business community, which could impact future investment in the area and further erode the ability of the area to properly serve its intended function as a key employment location."?

You can read the response in full by clicking here

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