A group of ten planning authorities in the Greater Manchester area in the north of England began a joint consultation on proposals for a joint plan to manage the supply of land to support jobs and new homes. The consultation would close on 7 November 2014.
Source: Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Spatial Framework – Stage 1: Initial evidence on future growth, AGMA/GMCA
An article examined changes in local authority negotiations with developers regarding Section 106 of the English 1990 Town and Country Planning Act (which gave powers to require developers to contribute towards affordable housing provision) during the economic downturn in England. The article was part of a journal special issue on inclusionary planning from an international perspective.
Source: Nicky Morrison and Gemma Burgess, 'Inclusionary housing policy in England: the impact of the downturn on the delivery of affordable housing through Section 106', Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Volume 29 Number 3
A paper said that a range of obstacles prevented brownfield sites (sites on which there had been previous development) from being used for residential development, including issues such as land ownership, site preparation costs (particularly for contaminated land), and national and local planning policy. The paper suggested four policy mechanisms to increase use of brownfield land: the taxation (through council tax) of uncompleted housing for which planning permission had been granted; funding and assistance for brownfield remediation; special planning measures and state intervention to aid in delivering brownfield sites; and the use of tax increment financing to fund development on brownfield land.
Source: Removing Obstacles to Brownfield Development: How Government can work with communities to facilitate the re-use of previously developed land, Campaign to Protect Rural England
A think-tank report examined the relationship between developers or house builders and local authorities, and the impact of planning issues on local housing supply.
Source: Andrew Heywood, Housing and Planning: What makes the difference? A Smith Institute survey and discussion paper on the relationship between councils and house builders, Smith Institute
The government began consultation on proposals to make changes to the planning system in England. Proposals included: changing the requirements for consultations on neighbourhood plans; making permanent the development rights to convert offices to homes and changing measures to convert empty buildings; a relaxation of rules regarding change of use of shops, and a new 'retail class' for payday loans shops and betting shops; changing the rules on environmental impact assessments; and changes to the system for processing planning for major infrastructure projects. The consultation would close on 26 September 2014.
Source: Technical Consultation on Planning, Department for Communities and Local Government
A report examined the economic and financial value of planning, and its role in shaping, regulating and stimulating markets, as well as its scope and influence. The report concluded that the relationship was highly complex and that the available evidence to date did not adequately capture the breadth of the topic. It called for a co-ordinated research programme into the value of planning, to inform policy-makers and practitioners.
Source: David Adams and Craig Watkins, The Value of Planning, Royal Town Planning Institute
The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for an Infrastructure Bill to include provisions to: change the Highways Agency into a government-owned company; simplify processes relating to nationally significant infrastructure projects; allow for deemed discharge on certain types of planning conditions if local planning authorities had delayed decisions; change regulations regarding the transfer of public sector land assets; pass responsibility for the local land charges register to the land registry; make changes regarding underground access to gas and oil from shale and geothermal energy, subject to ongoing consultation; and make changes to building regulations to improve energy performance standards for new homes, including off-site carbon abatement measures ('allowable solutions').
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
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The Infrastructure Bill was published. The Bill was designed to: transfer the functions of the Highways Agency into a government-owned strategic highways company; simplify processes relating to nationally significant infrastructure projects (including gas, oil and other energy, transport, water, waste water, and waste projects); make changes to planning provisions, including allowing deemed discharge on certain types of planning conditions if local planning authorities had delayed decisions; change regulations regarding the transfer of public sector land assets, including provisions regarding the Homes and Communities Agency, Greater London Authority, and Mayoral development corporations; pass responsibility for the local land charges register to the land registry; and give members of communities the right to buy stake in local renewable electricity generation facilities.
Source: Infrastructure Bill, Department for Transport, TSO
The Northern Ireland Executive began consultation on a proposed system of developer contributions for affordable housing in Northern Ireland. The proposals would require planning authorities to seek contributions from developers for affordable housing, as a proportion of all newly-proposed housing developments above a threshold number of dwellings. The consultation was published alongside a related draft planning policy and consultations on both documents would close on 26 August 2014.
Source: Developer Contributions for Affordable Housing: Public consultation, Northern Ireland Executive
Source: Draft Planning Policy Statement 22: Affordable housing, Northern Ireland Executive
A report examined ways in which the value of planning could be maximized, drawing on examples and case studies from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Source: Fostering Growth: Understanding and strengthening the economic benefits of planning, Royal Town Planning Institute
A report said that land was not being hoarded in any systematic or concerted way by house builders in Britain, and that the financial incentives for developers were heavily weighted towards developing, rather than retaining, land. The report said that only 4 per cent of unstarted plots had usable planning permission, 63 per cent of plots were on sites where construction work was underway, and the overall volume of land being put into the planning system, through construction, and into new homes fell short of that required to solve the housing crisis.
Source: Permissions to Land: Busting the myths about house builders and 'land banking', Home Builders Federation
A report examined the issue of housing supply in England. It said that average house prices would continue to rise unless the estimated need for 250,000 new homes a year was met. The report examined issues including land prices, competition, levels of investment in affordable housing, and planning. It made a wide range of recommendations for the next United Kingdom government that included: the release of infrastructure spending to unlock stalled house-building sites, with council tax penalties for land that remained undeveloped; greater support for custom build, including a 'Help to Build' scheme, using government guarantees to help small builders access the market; a new National Housing Investment Bank to finance affordable house building; five new garden cities; New Homes Zones; and greater consideration of housing within future City Deals.
Source: Pete Jefferys, Toby Lloyd, Andy Argyle, Joe Sarling, Jan Crosby, and John Bibby, Building the Homes We Need: A programme for the 2015 government, KPMG/Shelter
An article examined the neighbourhood development plan (NDP) process, designed to allow local communities in England and Wales to decide where new homes, shops and offices should be built. It examined the NDPs currently in process from the practitioner's perspective and concluded that, although the key political aim behind NDPs was to enable local economic development through reducing local opposition to proposals, the existing practices led to greater opposition. The article proposed a shift in policy focus to facilitate better community engagement with planning processes.
Source: Carol Ludwig and Gregory Ludwig, 'Empty gestures? A review of the discourses of "localism" from the practitioner's perspective', Local Economy, Volume 29 Issue 3
An article examined how values of equity and justice might change planning practitioners' voices in the debate over urban outcomes. Drawing on Nussbaum's capabilities approach, and case study research from an area-based regeneration initiative in England, it discussed how changing planners' views of their aims might produce more socially just outcomes.
Source: Katie McClymont, 'Stuck in the process, facilitating nothing? Justice, capabilities and planning for value-led outcomes', Planning Practice and Research, Volume 29 Issue 2
A report examined the role of local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in relation to the statutory planning system in England, and considered the potential of alternative strategic planning mechanisms. It outlined a typology of planning functions and said that the role and form of LEPs were still evolving, but they were in the process of developing strategic economic plans as part of their negotiations with central government for Growth Deals. The project from which the report arose was ongoing, with a final report due in May 2014.
Source: Lee Pugalis and Alan Townsend, Planning for Growth: The role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in England – interim report, Research Report no. 3, Royal Town Planning Institute