No Room! No Room! The Costs of the British Town and Country Planning System

The devastating economic impact of planning controls

The British Town and Country planning system was originally designed to guide rather than restrict development. It has grown into a system which restricts development across the board. This has imposed significant costs on the British economy. Many of these costs arise from unintended and unrecognised effects of the planning system.

Planning controls have led to spiralling house prices and increasingly crowded urban areas. This has decreased the quality of urban life. Planning controls also make exporting industries which require land uncompetitive. The high cost of land drives firms overseas or deters foreign firms from siting their plants in the UK. Planning authorities allow factories to be built but not houses for their workers, thus creating labour shortages and high wage costs. Planning has stifled the growth of small firms which make a relatively greater contribution to economic growth.

Developers should be permitted to compensate those affected by a proposed development. If agreement cannot be reached, compensation should be set according to a fixed scale. This measure would ease objections to the development of green-field sites and release more land.

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