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Planning and positivity – why partnership is key to the UK’s housing growth

”Partnerships are absolutely central to getting the best out of our planning system and creating lasting legacies for future generations.” IM Land’s Jonathan Dyke has warmly welcomed the release of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Planning Positively Through Partnership www.local.gov.uk/planning-positively paper today.

The publication – which showcases some of the most successful development schemes across the UK – features IM Land’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) site at Ensleigh.  Located in the World Heritage City of Bath, IM Land has successfully brought forward plans for new homes at the site, a 72-bed extra care facility and new primary school.

In addition to recognising the positive relationships forged between IM Land and Bath & North East Somerset Council, it also puts forward six key tips for fostering collaboration including early engagement during the Local Plan process and consulting local communities.

Commenting on the paper, Jonathan Dyke said: “Many have the perception that bringing development through the planning system needs to be combative, but the exact opposite is true.  The very best results come from when councils, promoters and communities collaborate.

“We all have a part to play in making sure our planning system fosters partnerships.  At Ensleigh, we agreed a Planning Performance Agreement with the local authority and had to think creatively of how to overcome obstacles to delivering the vision.  Our team had the flexibility and ingenuity to think of different ways to achieve the site concept, securing a mix of new homes and a school to underpin the area’s growth.”

IM Land worked with Linden Homes and Bloor Homes to deliver homes at the site, while managing speedy delivery of the site following consent.  This involved negotiating purchase of neighbouring land to accommodate the new primary school.

The LGA points to local planning authorities approving nine in 10 planning applications; as well as planning approvals being at a 10-year high as evidence of combined efforts by developers and councils to drive growth.

It also highlights six valuable tips to local authorities and the property industry:

  1. Early engagement during the development of Local Plans
  2. Site assembly and de-risking of sites
  3. Involvement in pre-application advice service
  4. Implementing permissions swiftly
  5. Engagement with communities and local councillors
  6. Leadership and the role of councillors

Jonathan added: “It’s encouraging to see the principles of positive planning set out by the Local Government Association – particularly as it perfectly mirrors our approach.  We’re a strong advocate for engaging early with communities and would urge local authorities to form strong working relationships with developers.  Those that do can expect to see considered and appropriate development that responds to local aspirations.”

Visit https://www.imland.co.uk/what-we-do/mod-ensleigh/  to learn more about the project and watch our partnership case study video.