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RTPI response to James Brokenshire’s planning proposals

02 October 2018

In his speech at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing and Local Communities, announced that the Government would prioritise brownfield but also look at land that’s already been built on, and will publish proposals to permit people to build up on existing buildings.

He also said he would give Councils greater powers to deliver the garden communities of the future.

Victoria Hills, RTPI Chief Executive, said:

“Densification of built-up areas can bring about much needed housing supply, but quality is as important as numbers. Blanket height extensions come with issues that have potentially serious impact on streetscape and people’s access to light. National policy can provide a favourable steer, but local communities should be able to set standards which enable higher buildings to make a positive contribution to housing supply.  

“New powers given to local authorities to speed up the creation of locally-led garden communities are welcome. Large-scale developments are key to meeting the Government’s targets, but it is vital that planning teams are properly resourced to deliver them strategically with proper consideration for design and transport links, so that they do not become isolated places that significantly increase car use.”

Other planning-related highlights in Mr Brokenshire’s speech:

  • Committed to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s
  • Introduced a “New Homes Ombudsman” to protect interests and hold developers to account and a “Rogue Landlords” database.
  • Committed to a new deal for social housing tenants to deliver decent homes and break stigma.
  • Stated that the Government would change building regulations to ban the use of combustible materials for all new buildings.
  • Launched the Great British High Street Competition to recognise innovation and success and the High Street Advisory Panel chaired by John Timpson.
  • Said that the ageing population were creating increased demands, and that he was working with Matt Hancock MP to recognise Local Governments direct interests to a Social Care Green Paper, putting the care system on long term sustainable footing.
  • Committed to directing £165 million to building 5,000 new homes in the Athletes and creating a long-lasting legacy for Birmingham.

See details on Government website.