Only planning policy reform can solve the housing crisis

The NFB welcomes the Labour Party’s proposal aiming to future proof the planning system, but would encourage them to commit themselves to tangible policy more quickly.

Building Magazine has reported that the Labour Party will undertake a “root and branch rethink” of the planning system, aiming to give local people a say over what their area will look like in 25 years’ time and future proof the planning system.

A call for evidence will be published on 25 October 2018, followed by a series of regional meetings. Conclusions will feed into Labour’s Housing for The Many Green Paper.

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Labour spokesperson on planning, said that the exercise aims to deliver a “system of local plan making that is genuinely democratic” and would cover modern methods of construction (MMC), energy efficiency, developer contributions and the connections between the different tiers of neighbourhood, local, regional and national planning.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes any proposal aiming to future proof the planning system, but would encourage the Labour party to make the most of this and previous reviews to commit themselves to tangible policy more quickly.

The Labour Party is in a unique position where it could enable some elements of its national ambition locally.

Devolved planning powers already permit local planning authorities (LPA) to encourage more energy efficient homes, support neighbourhood planning, increase the use of MMC, make developer contributions fairer and allocate local sites for housing.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federations of Builders, said:

“The opportunity to participate in Labour’s upcoming planning review is very welcome. Planning remains the greatest barrier to growth for SME house builders. Reforming planning is essential to solve the housing crisis.

“The housing supply crisis requires new ideas and tangible policy ambitions. Since the Lyons housing review does not appear much in ‘Housing for the Many’, the housing supply chain would benefit if the Labour Party could commit to planning policy initiatives it would like to see implemented.”