IHBC Vice Chair Kathy Davies was among delegates at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Civic Societies meeting on March 13 – supported by Civic Voice – which asked, ‘Will the NPPF Review deliver the homes the country needs’, while all concluded: ‘Not a chance!’
Griff Rhys Jones speaking at the APPG – image by K. Davies
Kathy Davies said: ‘Delegates at the event unanimously concluded that, with a very narrow focus on delivering an unrealistic number of houses, the real issues are ignored and opportunities for creating high quality places to live are being missed’.
Kathy Davies writes:
Will the NPPF Review deliver the homes the country needs? That was the subject of a debate at the APPG for Civic Societies event at Westminster on Tuesday 13 March. And the answer was pretty well unanimous – not a chance – but for various reasons.
Hosted by Craig MacKinlay, MP and with contributions by Richard Blythe, RTPI, Matt Thompson, CPRE, Paul Bedwell, Civic Voice and Planning Consultant, and Griff Rhys Jones, President of Civic Voice, there was some lively discussion on the issues and potential solutions. What was clear is that a developer-led solution to the housing problem is not going to work. With a very narrow focus on delivering an unrealistic number of houses, the real issues are ignored and opportunities for creating high quality places to live are being missed.
Meeting the big ambitions of developers seems to be driving much development in town centres. The decades-old realisation that wholesale redevelopment rips the heart out of communities is yet again ignored. The vibrant, sustainable town centres that government policy is constantly striving for, are increasingly eroded by developer–led planning. Re-using existing buildings and keeping residential uses in town centres can make a really positive contribution to successful regeneration.
Most criticised were the method of assessing housing need; setting housing targets unachievably high, especially in Green Belts; the lack of mention of social housing; avoiding the issue of how land is traded and the related issues of how to assess viability. The whole issue of how local government is funded should be addressed and also, how development land should be taxed.
Local communities can only meaningfully engage in the planning process when it is plan-led, when they can put forward the right homes in the right places. And they need the power to stop the wrong homes in the wrong places. The NPPF Review does nothing to progress this.
See the NPPF consultation at IHBC NewsBlogs
See more background on the Civic Voice website