We are committed to transparency and co-operation in our relations with all government bodies.
Two of the key areas where we work closely with government bodies are:
- In relation to our developments, obtaining planning permissions to improve or redevelop our buildings, covering both the proposed land uses, design and public realm
- In relation to tax, ensuring that we have a productive, open and constructive relationship with HMRC
Relationships with planners
With the majority of our portfolio located within the West End we work hard to ensure we have an extremely close working relationship with Westminster City Council (WCC). For our development proposals, we will informally liaise with officers as early as possible in both the design phase and throughout the pre-application planning process.
Our approach is consensual rather than confrontational. We listen to feedback from WCC officers and amend our proposals accordingly. We also brief elected Councillors directly on our scheme proposals and meet regularly to discuss matters raised by Councillors or their constituents.
A key part of our discussion is to work with both officers and Councilors to ensure that our Section 106 planning contributions are put towards improvements such as streetscaping, enhancing the public realm (as we have done at Hanover Square) and supporting local community groups to benefit the immediate local community.
John Walker Director of Planning, Westminster City Council
Great Portland Estates takes the time to discuss their proposals with us and engages early in the process. This means that we are able to influence design and land use matters from the outset, rather than having a scheme presented to us as a fait accompli. It is a genuine two way process where the positive dialogue produces better results
Piers Blewitt Senior Development Manager
The planning process continues to be subject to ever increasing regulation which makes securing planning permission complex, time consuming and costly. Working collaboratively with the relevant authorities ensures that we address concerns early in the process to ensure that our applications are swiftly determined without any surprises.
Our relationship with HMRC
Martin Leighton Head of Corporate Finance
As a good corporate citizen and REIT, we strive to maintain a productive, open, constructive relationship with HMRC through regular dialogue. We invest significant time and resources into our relationship with HMRC, to assist them in having a full understanding of our business and to maintain our ‘low-risk’ status. Furthermore, we aim to positively influence and assist in the development of UK tax legislation through participation in consultations.