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Public sector land to be sold with planning permission

Words: Laura Edgar

Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined plans to sell off surplus land to the private sector with pre-approved planning permission, in a bid to accelerate the sale of public sector assets.

Cameron set out the plans today in his keynote speech ahead of the government’s spending review.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said the release of public sector land is “always welcome” and it is “good” to see the government taking steps to speed it up.

“Although the permission is not likely to be a full permission, rather a permission in principle, it is nevertheless a helping hand for those regenerating our towns and cities,” she said.

However, Leech expressed the importance that the government not take a “blinkered approach” to prioritising land for residential use. “To create vibrant places where people actually want to live and work there needs to be a mix of residential and commercial elements.

“We would similarly hope that there will be scope for a variety of residential tenures within these pre-approvals. The purpose-built rental sector has the potential to significantly contribute to the UK’s housing supply, and should be given as much consideration as schemes for owner occupation.”