The President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Ruth Reed, has responded to the Rt Hon George Osborne MP’s Budget Statement to the House of Commons today.
The ‘Budget for Growth’ recognises the role of new development and planning reforms in generating economic growth. Significant details confirmed today include the relaxation of planning rules in Enterprise Zones and change in use classes; much of this will be a welcome boost to the workload for architects and construction industry professionals.
Among the key points of interest to the RIBA are:
Change in use classes – Government to consult on the relaxation of use classes to make it easier to convert commercial premises to residential
Enterprise Zones – 21 new enterprise zones to be established across the country. Councils will be able to keep business rates and the zones will have ‘radically reduced planning rules’
Green Investment Bank – an additional £2bn to be invested from the Government in the new Bank, with £15bn from business
Housing – investment of £250m in the First Buy shared equity scheme for first-time buyers buying new homes
Speaking today, RIBA President Ruth Reed said:
'The 2011 budget recognises the role of the construction industry and new development in stimulating economic growth. The RIBA welcomes the potential for streamlining the planning system and for promoting development in enterprise zones provided that they are achieved in a framework that protects the essential requirements of sustainability and good design.
'The latest plans for a Green Investment Bank with its additional money, earlier delivery date (from 2013 to 2012) and moves to become a genuine bank for 2015 appear to be much more ambitious than expected and are very welcome. The bank should play a crucial role in building the new, much needed, green economy and in financing initiatives that can make a real impact such as the Green Deal.'
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