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RTPI's initial response to publication of Housing and Planning Bill

13 October 2015

Trudi Elliott, Chief Executive of the RTPI, said: 

"The RTPI welcomes the priority being given to housing by the government given the back log of need built up over 30 years. Planning is part of the solution and permissions for homes rose to 261,000 in the last year. The number of homes built/started in contrast remained stubbornly low at 124,250 completions so the key priority now must be to get more homes actually built and a  focus on skills, supply chain, finance and infrastructure must accompany this bill."

Janet Askew, President of the RTPI, said:

"Central and local government need to prioritise planning within their spending plans, in order to deliver vital housing through local plans. It is encouraging that the government remains committed to the plan-led system and to community involvement. We think it is important to speed up plans in England but are under no illusion that close attention to the real drivers behind the issue of speed and commitment must be paid."

Key RTPI briefing points

The RTPI welcomes the priority being given to housing by the government given the back log of need built up over 30 years. Planning is part of the solution and permissions for homes rose to 261,000 in the last year .The number of homes built/started in contrast remained stubbornly low at 124,250 completions so the key priority now must be to get more homes actually built and a  focus on skills, supply chain, finance and infrastructure must accompany this bill. 

  • Given falling home ownership the Government’s focus on this is understandable. However, strategic assessments of housing need carried out on behalf of ‎local authorities in their areas consistently shows a need for a range of housing size and tenure are required to meet that need. This will help support flourishing communities and economies. The planning system must not lose sight of meeting the housing needs of the whole nation.
  • The Bill provides for the government to take over local plans from local communities and write them itself, (if they are not completed by March 2017). Central and local government need to prioritise planning within their spending plans, in order to deliver vital housing through local plans. It is encouraging that the government remains committed to the plan-led system and to community involvement. We think it is important to speed up plans in England but are under no illusion that close attention to the real drivers behind the issue of speed and commitment must be paid. The reasons for slow local plan delivery are complex and include lack of resources and lack of prioritisation. A key problem is that adopted local plans do not trigger the release of resources for schools, health and transport, so making the case for them is difficult at the local level.

Central and local government need to prioritise planning within their spending plans, in order to deliver vital housing through local plans. It is encouraging that the government remains committed to the plan-led system and to community involvement. We think it is important to speed up plans in England but are under no illusion that close attention to the real drivers behind the issue of speed and commitment must be paid.

  • The government wishes to establish brownfield land registers and for land in them to be granted permission through a development order.  The Secretary of State is granted very wide powers to determine what land should be included in such registers and also which sites should receive such permissions. We are pleased to see that there is to be “some discretion on the part of the local planning authority to exclude land from the register.” Whether this discretion is exercised by the LPA or the Secretary of State, the RTPI insists that accessibility by sustainable means must be a requirement to grant planning permission in principle.

RTPI will be closely scrutinising the Bill and producing detailed briefings.

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