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How Uk Land Is Rezoned
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More than ever, rezoning is a key consideration in UK land investing.
New zoning laws in the UK have ushered in a different set of land use planning rules. Now land investors work with local authorities to address community concerns.
The Localism Act 2011 brought a significant change to how land is rezoned in the U.K. Essentially, town and country planning throughout the U.K. is now under the control of 421 separate Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), a stark change from the regional authorities that formerly held this responsibility under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Localizing authority has an impact on UK land investment dynamics. LPAs are organized at the borough, district council or unitary authority, where decisions about land use and building are considered along with other community interests and with input from local citizens. Given the general growth of the population in England and Wales (about seven percent over the decade preceding 2011), a need for housing makes this a pressing issue. Rezoning is sometimes necessary to enable developers and investors to build where housing needs are most critical.
The criteria that LPAs follow include:
• Follow a general scheme – Before any requests for zoning changes are made, the local authorities must develop a general plan for land use, growth and use designation changes.
• Submit information about plan revisions (rezoning) to public scrutiny – Regardless of whether an appeal to change a particular tract’s zoning comes from private parties or agencies in the public sector, those changes must be published for general public review and criticism.
• Assess environmental impacts – In particular, the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Directives must be met, particularly with regard to the suitability of the land for infrastructure projects, such as how new roads, sewers and utilities would affect watershed, protected species and so forth.
• Consider the social and economic impact of zoning changes – In the bill, the Community Right to Challenge (Chapter 3) provides that the LPA is required to consider social and economic impacts of any zoning alterations.
These considerations are important to investors interested in how the value of land can change with rezoning. Professional land investment companies understand the zoning process and will study the local economic conditions and LPA receptivity to land use designation changes. To the individual investor, it is important to consult a personal financial advisor, who can assist study where investments in UK land investment such as land factor into overall wealth management.
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