The chief executives of Birmingham and Manchester councils have called for the easing of the planning regime to drive further investment into city regions.
Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein said central government should continue moves to devolve power to the regions, with the ability to fast-track planning at the top of the agenda.
“The system is clogged up with billions and billions of pounds-worth of appeals,” Sir Howard told delegates at the MIPIM international property conference in Cannes.
Birmingham City Council chief executive Mark Rogers echoed the call, adding that national planning policy was a deterrent for overseas investment into the regions.
“National frameworks and planning legislation make it difficult to get the very best deal in our local areas,” Mr Rogers said at a roundtable discussion on localism, hosted by JLL and Movers & Shakers.
Both council chiefs also suggested that fiscal devolution, including giving city regions greater power over taxation, would encourage more investment in projects outside London.
“There needs to be fiscal responsibility but there’s more room to be flexibility around how big cities can develop a different working relationship with government,” Sir Howard said.
“I am not saying I am going to be handed responsibility for taxation now, but there needs to be a roadmap.”
Mr Rogers said: “If you exclude tax-raising powers [from devolution] you are tying one hand behind your back.
“There needs to be a sensible discussion about what tax-raising powers would look like.”