The post-referendum landscape for planning

The post-referendum landscape for planning

In the aftermath of the referendum vote, Irwin Mitchell partner, Martha Grekos, outlines an odd climate for planning. Governed part by uncertainty and part by the necessity of continuing to adhere to EU laws, planners will be left to cautiously survey a changing lie of the land.

What are the short-term planning implications of the result?

I would expect delays on any planning reforms proposed, because ministers will now be engaged with what the exit plan from the EU should be and the negotiations that will follow once the article 50 clock is started. Commercially, the viability of many schemes will have now changed given the shock the market has had and the uncertainty that remains. As such, many developers will be proceeding with extreme caution and it is likely that investors will start pulling back even more.

The EU does not tend to legislate in the area of planning law, leaving this to the individual Member States and, as such, European law has a comparatively limited effect in relation to development regimes across the UK. However, where the EU has a greater effect on planning is in the area of environmental protection. As such, there will not be much change here in the short-term. This area will not be impacted on until we leave Europe—but we will still be bound by a lot of European legislation as we have transposed those into our law. All that said, there are always some who use uncertainty to their advantage so we may see some quick transactions due to the changed pricing opportunities.

What are the longer-term implications of the referendum result?


This will mainly depend on what shape the negotiations take and what the final exit agreement with the EU would be. In addition, it will also depend on how the economy stabilises because developers and investors would want to see growth and opportunities in order to bring forward schemes. For now, what is known is that the uncertainty over the process for exit could well impact on decisions in the property market as the perception of risk attached to the UK is heightened. Some investors will hesitate and some occupiers will re-plan their footprints and building pipelines may slow down. That said, there

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