Planning authorities and developers alike are being advised to take a more flexible approach if they want to see commercial and residential development continue.
Andrew Watts of Coventry and Warwickshire solicitors Alsters Kelley, believes market conditions and the general economic outlook will stymie some planned developments.
He said: “Sites are coming to the market now where the intention may have been to do one sort of development within a council’s designated use framework that the market simply will not support. The developers need to be more resourceful and so too do the planners to think about different markets.
“Schemes that may have been earmarked for office development may now be more suitable for mixed uses or for areas not previously on the radar such as social housing. It is time for planning authorities to pick up the gauntlet and allow more creativity in the market place. The alternative is that the much-needed regeneration of our towns and cities is further delayed until the market for the original planned development of some sites has returned.
“We need to get the life back into our town and city centres. Empty shops and derelict sites will do nothing to assist the recovery.
‘‘In Coventry and Warwickshire, there are any number of potential development sites that have only a board up on them. Flexibility is the key to getting these site worked on and occupied.”