Lords committee calls for government to refocus the planning system

Lords committee calls for government to refocus the planning system on high quality homes, not just housing numbers

  • TCPA welcomes report from Lords Committee on Built Environment which calls for government to consider development corporations and review compulsory purchase
  • Report stresses need for sustainable communities and environmental measures

A report published today by the House of Lords Built Environment Committee has stressed the importance of ensuring that the planning system creates good places for people, as well as tackles the housing crisis.

The report highlights the need to return to important design and quality standards for new housing including zero-carbon homes, and to ensure that more is done to protect and promote green infrastructure and sustainability. It also calls for a return to Lifetime Homes to ensure that high quality accessible homes are built to provide for the nation’s ageing population and those with disabilities.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the TCPA said:

“The Committee is right to focus on the quality of places that we create, rather than just housing numbers. I hope that the government heeds the advice from the House of Lords as it consults on further detail in the Housing and Planning Bill.

“We agree with the Committee that our homes and communities have the opportunity to enhance our quality of life, health and wellbeing. People don’t want to live in unsustainable shoe-box homes without access to decent local services and that is why the Committee is right to call for a return to place-making standards such as Lifetime and zero carbon homes.

“As the recent effects of climate change have been seen with flooding across the country, it is vital that we adapt the way we build to create more resilient places. We support the Committee’s recommendation that there needs to be a wider recognition of green infrastructure with regards to economic, health and social benefits.”

In the TCPA’s written and oral evidence to the House of Lords Built Environment Committee the Association highlighted that access to land in the right location and at the right price is the foundation of successful new places. The TCPA is advocating the use of modernised New Towns legislation which is founded on the use of development corporations. Development corporations have the power through compulsory purchase to deliver comprehensive land assembly.

Kate Henderson added:

“We are delighted that the Committee have agreed with our evidence, recommending that development corporations could help with delivery of new communities. They are also calling on Government to expand its review of the compulsory purchase procedure set out in the Housing and Planning Bill to ensure an appropriate balance between improving neighbourhoods, securing necessary development and ensuring the landowner receives fair compensation.”

This report comes as the government publishes its technical consultation for the Housing and Planning Bill, which is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords. Many of the proposed measures in the consultation run counter to the recommendations in the Committee’s report around ensuring the planning system is focused on good place-making.

Research published last year by the TCPA showed that latest household projections suggest that we need over 220,000 additional homes in England each year until 2031 if the projected growth in households is to be accommodated, and currently we are building only 54% of that number – putting pressure on prices and rents.

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