Property forum launched to unlock planning system bottlenecks

HELP AT HAND: New forum launched by chamberHELP AT HAND: New forum launched by chamber
HELP AT HAND: New forum launched by chamber
PROPERTY professionals are to receive a helping hand from Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber.

Following feedback from its membership, the chamber has launched a new dedicated property forum aimed at forging stronger links between local authority planning departments and South Yorkshire’s business community.

The aim is to create opportunities for businesses to collaborate and discuss issues facing the sector, as well as working more closely with local authorities to overcome current bottlenecks within the planning system.

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According to the chamber, an estimated 5,000 new homes are required to meet South Yorkshire’s current housing needs. However, with many schemes facing lengthy delays when it comes to receiving planning permission, it is believed this not only impacts the property sector but also stifles regional economic growth.

The property forum was launched at the New York Stadium and saw more than 50 senior property professionals participate. During the event, delegates were given the chance to hear from Colin Blackburn, assistant director of housing infrastructure and planning, SYMCA, who provided an update about the region’s development plans, as well as highlighting the opportunities to improve connections between local communities as a result of plans to return buses to public ownership.

James Pitt, managing director of Muse, provided an update on Rotherham’s Forge Island development, which is expected to open to the public later this summer, while Joanne Neville, head of planning at the Harworth Group, discussed some of the challenges and opportunities associated with some of the schemes the company was currently working on.

Matthew Stephens, president of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said: “South Yorkshire is lagging behind many areas of the UK when it comes to meeting the local housing need. Planning, by its very nature, is a complex area, and to bring any planned development to fruition rightly requires scrutiny.

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"Yet at the same time, local authority planning departments are facing significant challenges of their own, not least being expected to achieve more with increasingly limited resources. The inevitable result is delays in permissions being granted, which in turn doesn’t just affect the property sector but the regional economy as a whole.”

Any business wishing to join the new forum can do so by contacting Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber on 01709 38600. More information is also available via the Chamber’s newly launched website: www.brchamber.co.uk

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