Jonathan Manns, Associate Director - Planning, Colliers International commented:

“Despite a year of significant planning reform, the subject received little comment in the Chancellor’s statement, neither did the green industry and sustainability, previously promoted as foundations for economic recovery.

“At the national level, the Autumn Statement suggested that Lord Heseltine’s recent report is set to provide a route-map for regional growth and investment. This will be supported by increased funding for the Regional Growth Fund and Local Enterprise Partnerships, in conjunction with wider infrastructure schemes.

“While funding is welcome, the lack of a regional tier of decision making may mean that Government spending may lack a clear focus. This could further fuel demands for a national spatial plan.

“The Chancellor’s overall message was that it is ‘business as usual’ for the economy and much of the Statement sought to reassure international investors of the country’s relative stability. In London, which has benefitted from significant investment over recent years, funding was provided for extension to the London Underground to Battersea. This will help maintain confidence in the market and could help speed-up regeneration of the area.

“There was also a clear emphasis on developing Britain’s high-value economy through funding for high-value science, roads and education. This will help support private sector growth and assist with attracting interest from emerging markets, but also support development in London and the South-East. University towns such as Cambridge, Oxford and Brighton will benefit as will East London and the Thames Gateway. The implication will undoubtedly be an increased importance on London’s satellites for residential development and reliance on commuter settlements for housing; those who might otherwise be priced out of home ownership.”