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PR 26 - Legislative programme "a mixed bag"

14 May 2008

The Draft Legislative Programme is a mixed bag according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), which welcomes the Government's commitment to pursue the Marine and Coastal Access Bill and the Heritage Protection Bill. However, it has strong concerns about the Government's failure to outline plans to pursue the affordable housing agenda and is wary of future plans to give regional planning powers to Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).   

RTPI Director of Policy, Rynd Smith, said: \"The Draft Legislative Programme is a bit of a mixed bag. The Government's commitment to implement the Marine Bill is welcome, as is the Heritage Protection Bill. However, we would have liked to have seen some urgent action on the delivery of affordable homes, particularly as the economic context in which they will now have to be delivered has changed dramatically since the current housing policy was formed in 2007.

\"The extension of shared-equity schemes, announced separately by Housing Minister, Caroline Flint, may help more people onto the property ladder but what is desperately needed is a significant increase in the number of affordable homes. With the economic slowdown likely to render section 106 agreements less effective in delivering them we were hoping the Government might urgently examine fresh measures to bring affordable homes online. While measures might be announced in the Housing Reform Green Paper, set to be published at the end of this year, time is passing and demand for affordable hosing will rise.  

\"We are also concerned by the Government's desire to put planning powers in the hands of Regional Development Agencies. In their current state RDAs are not democratically accountable and they do not have the staff to deliver good planning. This situation needs to be addressed before the proposed Community Empowerment, Housing and Economic Regeneration Bill is taken forward.\"  

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479

Notes to Editors:

The draft Marine Bill can be found at the Defra website

A copy of the RTPI's response to the Marine Bill consultation can be found here

The RTPI's formal response to the Marine White Paper can be found here

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk

41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865