An example of the current planning system failing to work includes a site in Glasgow’s International Financial Services District which has lain derelict for a couple of years now. It was acquired and planning permission granted for a new hotel for the Jumeirah Group, but there have been no signs of development progressing. The developers used compulsory purchase powers to force out local businesses, causing people to lose their jobs and a leaving a whole block of the city empty and dilapidated, with resulting detrimental impacts on the surrounding area. The developer behind this proposal is now in administration and the development is unlikely to progress. This site will now be held in limbo until the developer’s finances are sorted out, then it could be sold on to another developer, who would then begin the process of getting funding then planning permission for a new scheme. It could easily be another five years before the site is developed.
The existing system makes it too easy for developers to get planning permission but does not take action on developers who blight an area and do not follow through with the development. Peoples lives and local businesses have been disrupted for no benefit. The councilors and their officials are too quick to support headline grabbing inward investment rather than supporting the local economy.
Perhaps big developers should lodge a substantial bond with this type of application before compulsory purchase powers can be used. This would enable the local authority to progress alternative developments if the scheme does not go ahead, instead of sterilising a large area of the city centre.