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Only half of housing built within 2km of train stations, RTPI study finds

10 May 2018

The Government’s new planning framework must focus more on transport-oriented housing developments as a new report shows that only half of housing in 12 fast growing cities in England is built within 2km of train stations, the RTPI says.

The RTPI’s Location of Development study – the largest study of its kind - maps and analyses the location of permissions for over 220,000 new homes in 12 fast-growing city-regions between 2012 and 2017, including Cambridge, Brighton, Leeds and Newcastle.

The study is divided into two ‘rounds’ – 2012 to 2015 and 2015 to 2017, which allows comparison on how spatial issues are changing since the NPPF came into force in 2012.

It finds that 51% of new housing between 2015 and 2017 has been permitted over 2km from railway stations. This compares with 53% in the same study conducted for the period 2012 – 2015.

The new figures are published deliberately to time with the Institute’s response to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) consultation, underlining how poorly located development risks negative economic, social and environmental impacts.   

Poorly located housing risks negative impacts

The RTPI co-launched the consultation in March with the Government and has since gathered the views of its members in a series of roundtables.

It proposes several amendments to the NPPF to ensure that national planning policy supports housing delivery whilst also tackling critical issues of congestion air pollution and negative impacts of car dependency on both individual health and wider economically sustainable place-making. 

Housing delivery is not just about numbers

Victoria Hills MRTPI, FICE, CEO of RTPI, says: “The NPPF gives us the opportunity to ensure that planners have a sound policy framework which encourages transport orientated development.  The funding and delivery of infrastructure should be targeted to maximise potential for sustainable development close to train stations and public transport hubs.    

“Our research on where housing development is actually being permitted shows that current policies do not go far enough to underpin the need to deliver housing in the most sustainable places. We call on Government to tighten up this aspect of the NPPF.”

John Acres MRTPI, President of RTPI, says: “Planning is not just about delivering houses but about creating economically successful places, attractive to people and investors. Ensuring housing developments and transport are closely linked is not only good for the environment but also good for the economy. Planners need to be kept at the forefront of a much broader approach to the economic and sustainable development of places.”

RTPI’s Location of Development 2012 – 2017 study covers 12 city-regions in England: Cambridge, Brighton, Oxford, Bournemouth, Bristol, Plymouth, Coventry, Nottingham, Newcastle, Blackburn, Warrington and Leeds. It is conducted by Hatch consultancy using data supplied by EGi.

The RTPI response to the NPPF is available here.