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We want to see live/work work effectively. Because live/work is a hybrid - a means of providing both housing and work, all too often it fails to fit inside structures that make a clear distinction between the two.

Planning in pratcice often uses zoning to separate residential property and workspace. Different government departments support homes and work separately. There is no planning guidance o­n live/work property, no live/work budget to support it, no agency responsible for live/work - and so o­n

Yet it fits very neatly into a whole range of government, regional and local strategies o­n sustainable development. Live/work property...

  • is all about sustainable use of property
  • makes best use of scare resources (one property not two)
  • reduces carbon by allowing construction/fuelling of one property not two
  • reduces reliance o­n transport = fewer emissions
  • is mixed-use of a single property
  • saves money for start up businesses
  • saves precious time for businesses
  • can create business clusters and networks
  • can help revitalise rural village and market town economies
  • can breathe life into urban centres

We have specific proposals to policy makers that we think will help live/work achieve these things and improve the quality of live/work property too. As the network grows we will listen to members and refine these proposals o­n the basis of our shared growing knowledge.

 

proposals for Central Government

  • identify a unit and department within government with responsibility for leading policy development o­n live/work and championing best live/work practice 
  • ensure any such unit has ministerial support to link policy o­n live/work across Whitehall – live/work is relevant to BIS,  DEFRA, DCLG, DCMS and more
  • identify appropriate existing BIS/HCA budgets - both housing and employment related pots - that can be used to co-fund a live/work pathfinder budget
  • initiate discussion in the European Community o­n live/work to ensure it develops appropriate policies for live/work and does not have conflicting or negative policies


proposals for the Treasury

  • use the tax system and planning guidance to reward genuine live/work - differentiate between schemes where systems are in place to ensure work use and those that cannot do so
  • linked to the above, recognise the net financial benefit to the Treasury and to the environment that live/work can signify - savings o­n fuel emissions and reduced congestion plus employment creation
  • remove VAT from genuine live/work schemes. Imposing VAT o­n the work space part of a scheme is an incentive to developers to minimise this work element
  • consider extending the tax exempt 'rent a room' scheme principle to home-based business, including live/work provision. Positively encourage live/work and home working, both of which reduce transport use and make best use of scarce property space


proposals for Local Enterprise Partnerships

  • incorporate live/work into workspace investment srategies
  • identify areas - both urban and rural - where live/work cna be piloted
  • work with higher education sector to boost cluster links with live/work schemes - explore ways graduates o­n relevant courses might access live/work and business advice to kick start their business


proposals for local government

  • develop live/work policies in local development frameworks
  • apply residential council tax o­nly to 'guaranteed' live/work schemes
  • require housing associations and developers developing live/work to monitor use of the property. This is in their interest as proven work use will strengthen any future planning applications
  • consider allocating sites with live/work potential in local plans
  • establish connections with potential live/work developers including housing associations so that opportunities are not missed
  • at the planning stage, encourage effective marketing of the scheme to those with a genuine business. Seek expert advice where needed
  • put in place systems to measure the impact of live/work o­n housing, jobs, businesses and transport
  • include policies for live/work in local development plans and supplementary guidance
  • take a positive and flexible approach to live/work when considering designations for employment land and residential areas
  • when making development or planning briefs, include live/work as a particular option for mixed-use development
  • consider carefully conditions imposed at development control stage o­n live/work developments, to ensure they are neither too o­nerous nor unenforceable
  • when considering issues of urban density, consider overall densities when joint employment and residential uses are proposed, rather than thinking o­nly in terms of residential densities, or o­nly employment floorspace


proposals for the HCA

  • further support information sharing o­n live/work
  • publicly support housing associations developing live/work, raise the profile of the sector as an appropriate live/work provider
  • consider ways that grant can support live/work with a more flexible application of TCI (total cost indicator) rules that reflect the different priorities in providing affordable workspace alongside residential



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