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Weekly planning news

Planning news - 6 June 2024

Planning Portal weekly planning news 6 June 2024

SEC Newgate National Planning Barometer 2024 published

At UKREiiF earlier this month, Sara Le Conte (TerraQuest) opened the launch of the SEC Newgate’s annual National Planning Barometer1

The barometer report explored ‘the critical barriers to housing delivery’, outlining four key areas which SEC Newgate believe are impacting delivery most fundamentally - these being structural factors, the planning policy labyrinth, blockages in the application process and tensions at planning committee. 

The report was comprised of findings from two distinct surveys, one of 416 planning committee members nationally, which revealed that a majority of planning committee members vote against the recommendations of their planning officers, despite 85 percent of them believing that their local planning department has ‘high expertise’. 

Many councils marked the provision of affordable homes as their top priority. 75% of councillors report that the housing crisis has deteriorated over the past year, both on a national level and within their local communities. Only 1% believe the crisis is improving.  

Those working directly in the planning system sighted a range of barriers which obstruct the timeliness of determining applications. According to the study, 50% of the councillors surveyed highlighted increasing workloads and resource constraints as the primary obstacles to determining applications. Additionally, they pointed to the frequent changes in policy. 

You can read the full report here.2 

Lichfields publish repurposing report 

In a report published on May 20, Lichfields examines the guiding principles for effectively repurposing town centre buildings, a strategy increasingly emphasized in recent years to rejuvenate abandoned high streets and urban areas.  

Repurposing buildings is often a cost-effective and sustainable solution, facilitating the preservation of architectural and cultural heritage in town centres. However, as the report underscores, repurposing is complex.  

Current regulations pose additional challenges, both in terms of physical adaptations and financial considerations, which may not be immediately evident. Drawing on Lichfields' practical expertise, the Insight report shares insights gained and offers guiding principles to successfully advocate for the repurposing of built assets.  

You can access the full report here.3 

House of Commons Committee find current housing measures are failing disabled people

On 24 May, the House of Commons Committee published a report shedding light on several barriers faced by the disabled community in accessing suitable housing in England.

The report, entitled ‘Disabled people in the housing sector’, includes several recommendations for government.  

It was informed by survey responses and evidence supplied by over 1000 people in England, including personal accounts from disabled individuals who have faced several obstacles, including long waits, holding up their search for accessible housing.  

According to the findings, only 7% of homes in England have basic accessibility features, with just 1.9% of homes planned to be built to wheelchair user standards in 2020. 

The study found ‘little evidence that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is treating disabled people’s needs as a priority in housing policy’.  

Notably, DLUHC has yet to implement its policy to increase the minimum accessibility standard for new builds to the 'M4(2)' standard of building regulations, a change that was announced nearly two years ago and first consulted on four years ago. 

The report’s recommendations for government include immediate implementation of M4(2) Standards, increased availability of M4(3) Standard Homes, review, and reform of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), ensuring landlord compliance and build more homes. 

You can read the full report by visiting the government’s website.4 

National Infrastructure Commission report reveals we need to do more to close infrastructure gap

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC)’s report, published on 16 May, found that government's progress on infrastructure policy, funding, and delivery has been mixed. Whilst there have been some advancements in areas such as extending devolution arrangements and digital network deployment, other areas have seen limited progress or setbacks. 

Challenges include uncertainty on heating policy, leading to a slow transition from fossil fuel heating, and the cancellation of the second leg of HS2 without a clear plan for improving connectivity in affected regions. External disruptions like the pandemic and cost of living crisis have exacerbated delays in infrastructure planning and delivery. 

Infrastructure is crucial for addressing policy challenges and delivering resilient, low carbon services. The study finds that to close the infrastructure gap, significant increases are required in investment, both public and private.  

Key recommendations include supporting net zero by deploying flexible energy technologies, prioritizing regional growth through transport investment, and improving environmental resilience. Strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks is necessary to support infrastructure investment and ensure timely decision-making. 

You can read the full report here.5 

Local news

RAF Scampton to house 800 asylum seekers 

The agreement ensures that only 10% of the former RAF base will be used by the Home Office, resulting in a reduction of housed asylum seekers from 2,000 to 800, The Planner have reported. 

The new deal ensures the council's £300 million regeneration plan for the site will be protected. Listed structures and heritage elements will be transferred to the council, with the remaining hangars to follow suit by 2026. The council's persistent efforts to contest the Home Office's plans have led to the implementation of the new conditions. 

You can read The Planner’s full story on their website.6 

Bedford Landlord fined for multiple planning violations 

A landlord and his company have landed a fine and costs totalling ‘nearly £25,000’, The Planner reported on Monday.  

The payment order comes following his conviction for multiple breaches, involving enforcement notices related to the replacement of windows in a conservation area, cycle parking, noise mitigation and bin storage and collection. 

You can read The Planner’s full story on their website.7 

Urban extension proposed in Bridgend 

Bridgend County Borough Council is considering preliminary proposals for a sustainable urban extension, comprising over 800 new homes and a primary school, The Planner reports.  

The 45-hectare site, allocated for strategic development, adjoins the existing Bridgend college campus. The project aims to provide housing, access routes, ecological mitigation, community facilities, and green infrastructure, with 20% of homes designated as affordable.  

You can read The Planner’s full story on their website.8 


Our planning news is published in association with ThePlanner, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

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    Planning news - 6 June 2024

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

      The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.