Councils urged to recognise housing need
It is up to local authorities to make sure the new planning framework provides the homes England needs, campaigners have warned today.
The government announced the final version of the much-criticised national planning policy framework earlier today.
But planning and housing bodies have called on local authorities to step up and make sure their local plans have enough provision for affordable homes.
Ruth Reed, chair of the Royal Institute of British Architects’ planning group, said: ‘Policy alone will not deliver the good quality built environment that our future generations deserve.’
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘There are 1.8 million households on waiting lists for a home but the housing shortage can only be fixed with workable planning rules. The NPPF makes that possible, but the onus is now on local councils to maximise the planning system’s support for new affordable homes if we are to meet our acute and growing need for affordable housing.’
The document marked a number of concessions from planning minister Greg Clark, with the inclusion of a transitional arrangement for councils and a more detailed presumption in favour of development.
But the transitional arrangements will only apply to local authorities who have a local plan set since 2004 – otherwise the NPPF takes effect from today.
Ian Trehearne, consultant in the planning and environment team at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said local authorities had to ‘raise their game very significantly’ if they are to deal with the housing land requirements.
Similarly, Roger Humber, strategic policy adviser to the House Builders Association, said: ‘The principal weakness of the government’s whole planning strategy remains its reliance on local authorities bringing forward plans with adequate housing numbers.’
Stuart Baseley, executive chairman of the Homes Builders Federation, said: ‘With that power comes responsibility and local authorities need to demonstrate they are meeting their communities housing needs. The government also needs to keep a close eye on its radical new system to ensure it helps meet the country’s needs.’
‘Although it is welcome that the framework mentions older people, it simply does not go far enough to encourage measures that will help them to live independently in their community such as the location of shops, services and transport links. Nor does it promote the idea of accessible new homes that meet the lifetime homes standard.’ Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK
‘The emphasis is on local people coming up with local plans, I suppose, Big Society in action – but as we have been saying for months now, who is going to lead this?’ Mark Leeson, a director of consultancy McBains Cooper
‘Home Group lobbied hard for a greater recognition of the importance of affordable housing in the framework and we’re pleased to see that local planning authorities will be required to clearly set out the rate at which affordable homes will be delivered in their area.’ Mark Henderson, chief executive of Home Group
‘The NPPF will make the system more transparent for international investors, which could encourage more money to be directed towards UK property, and enable communities to get to grips with development in their area.’ Stuart Robinson, head of planning at CBRE
‘It is critical that local authorities fully understand sustainability issues, to make sure that they achieve a balance between requiring robust sustainability standards but also ensuring development remains viable.’ Joanne Wheeler, senior policy advisor at the UK Green Building