A new report from Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the body that represents 23,000 planning professionals working in the public, private, charitable and education sectors globally, outlines 15 key measures needed to boost house building. The report, published today, highlights how new homes can be built in the places where they are most needed by unlocking existing large scale housing schemes and potential sites across England and Scotland.
The recommendations focus on five pinch points – community engagement, land, infrastructure, finance, and leadership and governance.
Dr Peter Geraghty, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said:
”These are bold but achievable proposals to try to help to break through very serious barriers which are preventing large housing schemes from significantly contributing to the delivery of the very large numbers of new homes we desperately need in the UK. Whilst solutions involving existing stock and smaller scale development will clearly play a key role in resolving the housing crisis, our report concentrates on the part which could be played by locally-inspired large scale housing schemes – schemes and sites with thousands of homes on them."
"Our research focus was on large scale housing because this is most likely to have the greatest impact in delivering homes and sustainable communities but we believe that many of the recommendations would also help smaller scale developments happen and ensure we get the right housing in the right place at the right time.”
By ‘large scale’ housing development, we mean sites and schemes consisting of thousands rather than hundreds of houses, which either significantly expand a settlement or create a new one, and which have major infrastructure requirements.
Recommendation 1: Local and national politicians and campaigning groups as well as planners need to make the case for large scale housing schemes by emphasising the consequences for current and future generations of failing to build enough houses, and the opportunities represented by large scale schemes to delivery quality healthy communities.
Recommendation 2: Local councils, practitioners and developers need to do more to ensure that community engagement reaches a wider cross section of the community, including potential future residents.
Recommendation 3: Local authorities and developers should ensure that the pre-application engagement process and local plan consultation are of a high standard, which means that they should be comprehensive, straightforward, accessible and represent good value for money.
Recommendation 4: There needs to be public access to information on who owns land and who owns options on land.
Recommendation 5: Local authorities should take a larger role in land assembly, for example by the use of existing powers of compulsory purchase.
Recommendation 6: Share risks around potential future land uplift in land values more evenly between local authority, developer and landowner so as to bring sites to market now.
Recommendation 7: Government departments and agencies should be required to dispose of their surplus land holdings in a way which takes account of the wider community value rather than maximising the capital receipt, and to do so with alacrity.
Recommendation 8: In view of the longer lead-in times involved, central government should incentivise large scale housing schemes, for example, through finance mechanisms or national planning policy.
Recommendation 9: Link together infrastructure expenditure, policies and planning with policies and planning for housing in order to unlock potential sites, for example through budgetary processes or guarantees against future income streams.
Recommendation 10: Local authorities should be empowered and encouraged to use existing or innovative funding solutions and utilise central government support through existing funding streams or policies. This could involve local infrastructure funding or forms of devolved pooled resources.
Recommendation 11: Local authorities, infrastructure providers and government agencies should develop means to pool departmental and European resources in order to deliver the infrastructure which supports housing schemes.
Recommendation 12: Where funding isn’t available, central government should consider underwriting a certain proportion of the site investment.
Leadership and governance
Recommendation 13: Where required, local authorities and agencies should be given much greater incentives to work collaboratively across borders to strategically plan for housing and infrastructure sites.
Recommendation 14: Leaders, Chief Executives and chief planning officers of local authorities need to use planners’ skills more broadly in the design and delivery of corporate and LEP plans for growth.
Recommendation 15: Governments need to explore how, where they are of national significance, proposed major housing developments should be acknowledged nationally and what special delivery processes may assist their delivery.