While the idea of stripping UK politicians of the opportunity to dictate planning regulations across the country may seem a little far-fetched, we only need to look at the Bank of England to see how an independent body performs. There is no doubt that when the Bank of England was effectively part of the UK government of the day there were interest rate and other monetary decisions made with more emphasis on politics than the long-term good of the economy. So, is it time to look at an independent body to set and monitor UK planning regulations in the future?
Recent government action
Before we consider whether politicians should be separated from the ever evolving UK planning regulations it is worth noting the major changes announced by David Cameron earlier this week. Not only has he demanded newbuild plans from local authorities around the country by 2017 but he has also promised that the government will take control if local authorities fail to deliver. He has also announced plans to continue with the conversion of unused office space into residential properties with no planning permission required for a permanent change.
So, is the UK government reacting in the best interests of the UK property market or is this a wheeze to curry favour with voters?
Would an independent body work?
While it may be difficult to put together a fully independent body with no particular bias there is no doubt it would be an improvement on the long term track record of politicians. There would need to be a balance of different opinions to arrive at a consensus but the fact that members of this independent body would not be looking to curry favour with the UK electorate would surely be a positive.
The way that the UK political system is built ensures that all politicians need to tell voters what they want to hear ahead of general elections. Whether or not they are able to fully implement these policies, many of which revolve around planning and property, is debatable. We’ve all seen and heard of politicians promising X, Y, Z only to fail to deliver when they finally gain office. If an independent body was able to look longer term with no short-term pressure then surely this would be a positive going forward?
Confidence breeds confidence
As we have seen in the UK property market over the last few decades there is no doubt that confidence does breed confidence. The U.K.’s decision not to join the euro was ridiculed at the time but the recent collapse of this relatively new currency highlights the brave and “correct” decision taken by the UK government at the time. The less political influence upon the UK property market the better for all concerned and hopefully with no need to bow down to public opinion surely it would be easier to put together long-term policy plans?
It is highly unlikely that UK planning and property regulations will be dissolved to an independent body but we can dream?