Royal Town Planning Institute Response to Housing and Planning White Paper introduced today
The RTPI welcomes many of the measures contained in the Housing and Planning White Paper - many of which the RTPI has long campaigned for, including more comprehensive measures to increase the supply of suitable land available for housing.
RTPI has argued that it is essential that there is greater diversity in the housing market to address the issue of affordability and welcomes the Government’s new focus on a wider range of housing tenures. RTPI welcomes the Government’s intention to join up development with infrastructure, which we have strongly advocated, and urge that the Government works across departments to achieve this.
RTPI sets out its analysis of the long-term failure in the housing sector characterised by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as the “broken housing market” in its position paper Better Planning for Housing Affordability.
RTPI has strongly campaigned for more resources to be given to local authority planning departments and welcomes the Government’s plans to allow local authorities to raise fees for planning applications up by 20% to be reinvested in LPAs. However we are concerned that these measures may not be sufficient to mitigate for years of under investment and resources need to be made available to enable the LPAs to cope with the demands the new Government policies outlined today will place on them.
We have long campaigned for land registry to remain in public sector and for data to be made more available and welcome the Government’s proposals to explore further options.
However, there are some issues in the housing sector which the white paper does not address. It makes no mention of a mechanism to capture rising private land values to better benefit communities – the single most useful instrument to channel more value generated by development towards public benefit investments such as social housing and good infrastructure, without incurring more public debt.
RTPI President, Stephen Wilkinson says:
“We welcome the intention of this white paper to address many of the issues the RTPI has previously identified to solve the housing crisis. Particular measures – include the Government’s plans to support a greater range of tenures to help more people afford homes, additional resources for planning departments and the its intention to link the development of infrastructure to support the delivery of new housing.
We particularly welcome the Government’s measures designed to boost resources to LPAs given that further changes to national planning policies will place additional burdens on the planners. The RTPI has been strongly making the argument over many months that policy makers need to get behind planners to make more resources available, to help planners to do their job in creating the conditions for planned, high quality development to increase the affordable housing supply and for improving the economic viability of places.”