RTPI Chief Executive, Trudi Elliott, and Tony Crook, Emeritus Professor of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield, gave evidence this week to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, as it continued with its inquiry into the economics of the UK Housing market.
Trudi and Tony, who is also a member of the RTPI Board of Trustees, but who gave evidence independently, were quizzed jointly during a wide ranging session which included:
- whether local authority planning departments should be better resourced;
- whether planning was a constraint on house building;
- whether they agreed with the Government's policy to define starter homes as affordable housing; and
- whether local authorities are providing a sufficient number of smaller sites for development in local plans
The evidence session provided ample opportunity for both Trudi and Tony to explain that development plans and planning, far from holding up development, provided a key framework for building the new homes we need. They showed that, where local plans were in place full provision was made for the new homes needed and that the planning system was now generating that numbers of new consented plots we need. It also provided them with a good opportunity to demonstrate how the damaging reductions in plan making and development management capacity in local government were creating bottlenecks in the system and how urgent it was to ensure there were adequate numbers of charted planners across all sectors and in all capacities.
The evidence session provided ample opportunity for both Trudi and Tony to explain that development plans and planning, far from holding up development, provided a key framework for building the new homes we need.
Questions and areas of discussion explored by their Lordships with Trudi and Tony also included local plans, site selection, green belt, the impact of lack of resources in LPA planning teams, and planning gain. In addition, Peers asked for views on the role of section 106 agreements, starter homes and the definition of affordable homes. The continuing gap between planning permissions granted and the actual number of homes being built, immigration and housing demand and the global challenge of rapid urbanisation also featured.
Trudi was able to draw on a range of RTPI policy and research papers including: Delivering large scale housing, Planning for Housing in England , a major study commissioned from Arup on Investing in delivery in the North west of England and our body of work on the value of planning.
Read the written evidence from RTPI.
Read the written evidence from Professor Tony Crook CBE