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Members' views sought on Government's latest planning changes

18 September 2017

The Secretary of State for Housing and Planning has announced a new consultation proposing more changes to the planning system. The consultation asks for views on

  • a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need 
  • How neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
  • a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
  • making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
  • increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need.

The RTPI welcomes this consultation which builds on the Government’s commitments in the Housing White Paper to take forward recommendations by the Local Plans Expert Group report. Calculating housing need has been identified as a major stumbling block to achieving these aims, so the RTPI welcomes that action is being taken to address it. It is imperative the local authorities have a plan in place and that the process of planning for housing is as straightforward as possible. 

However, considering the acknowledged urgency of the housing crisis, we are disappointed with the considerable time it has taken for the consultation to come forward.  As the SoS acknowledged in his speech to the Commons, this is also only part of the solution to the housing crisis. More needs to be done to diversify our housing market and incentivise land owners to release land for development in the right places.

It is well established that frequent tinkering around the edges of the planning system are severely disruptive to the day-to-day tasks of planning and delivery. In this case, we have serious concerns with the delay the implementation of new objectively assessed housing need (OAN) could cause to plan delivery.  

Our main ask is that transitional arrangements will ensure these changes are as least disruptive as possible.

The RTPI is seeking its members’ views to feed in to its response to the consultation. We are asking for members view by Monday 30th of October. Please email quoting your membership number.