The Mayor of Liverpool has announced that, in partnership with Merseyside Police, developers and landowners will soon be the first in the country to be able to voluntarily undertake a police check as they submit plans to the city’s Planning Authority.
The scheme, which will complement Liverpool City Council’s own Due Diligence process, will start in the autumn with Merseyside Police carrying out the checks.
Liverpool has been hugely successful in attracting developments to the city, with over 180 live schemes worth more than £3bn currently on site, but Liverpool City Council has been looking at additional ways to protect investors with the aim of being an exemplar city for England’s planning process.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We want people to have confidence that the schemes taking place in our city are going to be delivered. We already work very hard with any developer or investor who comes to the city and wants to talk to us.
“As a result, Liverpool is very much ‘open for business’ creating jobs, new homes and opportunities for people.
“However, most private sector schemes have absolutely no involvement from the council, except to grant planning permission. So, we want to ask developers to put themselves forward voluntarily for a police check in order to give both their investors, and the city, confidence in the strength of their scheme.
“The fact this scheme would be voluntary reflects the weakness of Government Policy in this area. Government legislation very tightly controls what our planning system can and cannot do and practically reduces the Council to a bystander with very little ability to shape and control our city. In some situations one bad apple, like we have seen recently, can give the wrong impression about our city, against the other 99% of successful projects.
“I think this is a good way of collecting more information about developers behind schemes so that their investors can make a more informed choice. I also think this will attract good developers to Liverpool because they know we are a council which is willing to work with them and take seriously our responsibility to grow and enhance the city.”
Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: “Merseyside Police have been working with all councils within Merseyside in order to assist planning applications to ensure that buildings can go ahead and that our communities are free from crime.”