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Insights // 26 May 2021

Karen Jones Comments on Reading Gaol and the Government's Proposed Planning Reforms

Partner Karen Jones, head of our Planning & Environmental Law team, provides an 'expert opinion' on the future of Reading Gaol and the Government's proposed planning reforms.

Alongside experts from Reading UK and firms including Savills, Lichfields, mode Transport Planning, Haslams Estate Agents and Carter Jonas, Karen was invited to comment in the Thames Tap on Reading Borough Council's unsuccessful attempt to purchase Reading Gaol from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the UK Government's proposed planning reforms.

‘Let us into Gaol’ – Experts Respond to MoJ Decision

In this article, Karen said: “The council would appear to be powerless in the face of the MoJ’s decision to continue to seek the best return for Reading Gaol, as there are no powers of any compulsory nature available to them where ownership is vested in a ministerial department.

“And with no willing seller, they are in the position of being unable to agree the purchase, yet they have no power of leverage other than moral indignation of the unfairness for the people of Reading.

“It is an unfortunate situation that with luck the council’s tenacity in continuing to press for engagement will overcome.” Read more.

‘When Government try to simplify Things They Usually Fail’ – Our Experts Respond to Planning Reforms

In this article, Karen said:

“The modern and efficient system of planning proposed is seen as the cure for all ills – to solve the housing crisis, reboot the economy and level up.

“My fear is we may be sadly disappointed. There is still a real lack of detail. There does not appear to be any real uptake of the 44,000 responses to the Government White Paper and there is little real depth to the proposals advanced.

“What will be interesting is if, in continuing to pursue the ‘more predictable and more transparent’ developer contribution levy, the Government has learnt the lessons of the problems created by CIL?” Read more.

For further information or legal advice, please contact law@blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800. 

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice. 

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