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Industry News

May pushes for more homes

The Prime Minister addressed the industry at the start of March and called for more homes to be built across the UK.

Speaking to the National Planning Conference about revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework, the PM told the audience that around 80 of the proposals set out in the Housing White paper will be implemented with the aim of a more joined-up approach to planning and development policy. 


Letwin review of build out rates

On 13 March, the day of the Chancellor's Spring Statement, the government published a letter from Oliver Letwin to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State, updating them on progress with his review.

Its terms of reference are to “explain thesignificant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned in areas of high housing demand, and make recommendations for closing it.”

First phase: Letwin said that, in the first stage of his work, he had decided to focus exclusively on analysis of the reasons why, against the background of the current planning system, build out rates were at their current level. But he didn’t make any recommendations for increasing such build out rates in the future.

Why did it take so long to build out large sites: he had further narrowed his focus by considering exclusively the question why, once major housebuilders obtained outline planning permission to build large numbers of homes on large sites, they took as long as they did to build those homes.

The many questions surrounding the build out rates of smaller housebuilders and on smaller sites might well be worthy of investigation in due course but the importance of the large sites and large housebuilders to overall construction numbers was such as to make it sensible to focus attention solely on them at this stage.

The interim report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government can be found at


London housing supply

Housing supply in London is once again under the spotlight. Despite recent fluctuations in land values for certain types of accommodation, the capital needs to plan for an increase in its population of one million over the coming decade. 1970 saw the last peak in house building in the capital - 37,000 units in one year, of which 80% were built by local authorities. In contrast, 2015 saw 25,000 built, of which 75% were delivered by housebuilders, with the balance mainly by housing associations and with only a very small proportion delivered by local authorities.


15 fail to submit a local plan

Fifteen local authorities in England have missed the local plan deadline set by secretary of state Sajid Javid. The local authorities that the government says have still to submit a local plan and have failed to make progress in their preparations include: Basildon, Brentwood, Bolsover, Calderdale, Castle Point, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Mansfield, North East Derbyshire, Northumberland, Runnymede, St Albans, Thanet, Wirral and York. Some 80% of these authorities’ areas include rural or green belt land.

For more on local plans see:


New neighbourhood planning regulations

In January new neighbourhood planning regulations came into force that require local planning authorities to clearly identify their strategic priorities and make the creation of development plans a statutory requirement. This includes the requirement to notify neighbourhood planning bodies of planning applications relevant to their areas with the aim of improving consultation and involvement in local planning decisions. 


Draft Practice Guidance was issued on 5 March alongside consultation on the draft revised NPPF.

It covers:

  • viability
  • housing delivery
  • local housing need assessment
  • neighbourhood plans
  • plan making
  • build to rent.


Hackitt review into fire safety

The independent Hackitt review into building regulations and fire safety, in response to the Grenfell disaster last summer, has moved into the next phase of its enquiries. The review is calling for innovation in the following areas of building management and regulation: design, construction and refurbishment, occupation and maintenance, competency, resident’s voice and regulation and guidance. It is expected to publish its full report later in the spring.

For more on the Hackitt review see:


NPPF reform

Statement made by Sajid Javid in Parliament during debate on NPPF reform: “WhatI support is making sure that the state captures some of the increase in value once land receives planning permission. We do that currently through developer contributions, the community infrastructure levy, and section 106 and other agreements. I want to ensure that what we currently have in place is working well.”


The Government launched its consultation on reforms to the National Planning Policy Framework


Is it time for a super tax on property developers to help poorer people get homes?

Article in Cambridge local press on Daniel Zeichner MP’s support for Mayor James Palmer’s position in favour of a land value capture tax, possibly for housing developments along the East-West rail corridor:


Greens call for a ‘developers’ duty’ to replace council tax

Press release ahead of a speech by Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley arguing for council tax and business rates to be replaced by a tax on the value of land:


Compulsory purchase: A threat and opportunity for housebuilders

Thought piece by lawyers Gately Plc on the risks associated with Labour’s land purchasing proposals and the Letwin review. Calls for housebuilders to come forward to argue their case:


A wee DRAM in the draft London Plan for transport infrastructure funding

Piece by lawyers Berwin Leighton Paisner on the Development Rights Auction Model (DRAM) suggested as a potential model of land value capture in the Mayor’s draft London Plan:


Rural land market could see ‘massive changes’ in coming years

Report on the Central Association of Agricultural Advisers’ (CAAV) response to the government’s consultation on the NPPF revisions:


National planning policy proposals pose risk to farmland

Report on the same CAAV comments, highlighting risks to private land rights posed by NPPF review: