The Centre for Policy Studies today welcomed the publication of the Government’s White Paper, ‘Planning for the Future’.
The think tank praised the focus on delivering sufficient new build homes and home ownership, which has been the core focus of its own work on housing. The CPS also welcomed the move towards giving communities greater say over development via binding local design codes. This echoes the recommendations of Alex Morton, the CPS’s Head of Policy, in his landmark paper ‘Create Streets’, co-authored with Nicholas Boys Smith.
The think tank also welcomed the goal of streamlining the planning process, trying to make the system deliver more land and an easier developer contribution process, while noting that the difficulty will be in the detail of how this works on the ground.
It noted that the proposed ‘growth zones’, the focus on the importance of SMEs in the housing industry, and the exemption of smaller sites from Section 106 payments, all echoed proposals in previous CPS papers.
Responding to the White Paper, Alex Morton said: ‘We need a simpler, faster, people-focused system to deliver the homes we need and keep Britain building. Local design codes can encourage development by making specific building requests easier to agree. By ensuring that all buildings complement the existing character of a neighbourhood, they boost a sense of place, create local buy-in, reduce opposition and allow for quicker and more profitable development.
‘Abolishing national prescriptions will clear the way for local people to set design codes on the issues that really matter to them through neighbourhood planning.
‘More broadly, these planning reforms are an intelligent first step in reform, but much more detail will be needed and many vested interests will try to slow and stop reform. We look forward to engaging on the detail and urge others to approach these reforms with a positive and supportive attitude – the housing crisis is one of the biggest issues facing our country and this radical paper is to be welcomed.’