politics

How the Letwin Review proposes to increase build rates on the largest development sites

Sir Oliver Letwin has been tasked by the government with understanding why there is a gap between the number of homes for which planning permission is granted, and the number which are actually built. In his final report, published in October, he has set out how that could be done.
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What the future of planning could have in store for farmers

Securing planning permission on agricultural land can be extremely difficult, whether that is for an extension, a single dwelling or a large scale development. Recently, however, the government has consulted on a range of new planning policies which could see it become easier to secure approval for a variety of development types.
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Developers, planners and oligarchs – the politics of the housing crisis

It seems no-one is immune from blame when it comes to the housing crisis – developers land bank; council planning officers are obstructive; oligarchs buy homes to leave empty; and landlords hoover up the few houses that remain.
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Rethinking the Green Belt needn’t mean a planning free-for-all

The Green Belt is the most recognisable part of the English planning system, and the most hotly debated too. Is it a major contributor to the housing crisis that should be abolished, or absolutely essential to stop the countryside disappearing beneath a sea of concrete?
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Why the new NPPF is bad for the North

On the 5 March, the government began a consultation on a number of reforms to the planning system. The main aim of these changes was to tackle the housing crisis by finally building enough homes to meet demand. When taken in the round, however, the proposals are likely to be bad for the North.
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Land values, house prices and why land value capture won’t make homes cheaper

Recent media coverage has focused on how the housing crisis could be solved if only land values could be reduced. Lowering land values would mean the price of new homes would fall, making housing more affordable. As attractive as that may sound, it gets the problem backwards – high house prices are the cause of […]
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Land banking – an inconvenient truth

Land banking is the practice whereby developers allegedly avoid building homes that they have planning permission for, preferring instead to sit on the land. By deliberately restricting the supply of housing, so the theory goes, developers  push up house prices allowing them to make even bigger profits in the future. But does it really happen?
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Will Brownfield Land Registers help solve the housing crisis?

In April 2017, the government announced the introduction of Brownfield Land Registers. Their purpose is to encourage more brownfield sites to be developed for housing. The deadline for putting Registers in place is 31 December, so we’re beginning to see them produced. But will they make a difference to the housing crisis?
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Two key failings of the Standard Method for calculating housing need

One of the challenges the government has identified in tackling the housing crisis is the way in which councils determine how many homes they need to build. In an effort to address that, the government is currently consulting on a new “Standard Method” for calculating housing need. This post explains what is proposed, and identifies […]
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Why the time is right to review Manchester’s Green Belt

The ten councils who make up Greater Manchester are in the process of preparing a new Spatial Framework to guide development in the region until 2035. The plan will identify both the amount of employment space and the number of new homes that will be needed over the next 20 years. The most controversial part […]
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5 key proposals for housing in the Conservative Party manifesto

18 May saw the launch of the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the upcoming General Election. The housing crisis and housing supply feature prominently in its 88 pages. This post identifies the five central themes of Conservative policy for the housing market and development industry, and what that might mean for you.
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