The Six Year Local Plan Examination – A Cause for Concern

With a few very notable exceptions the key issue in the planning system is no longer getting local planning authorities to propose to allocate enough land, the key problem has become getting submitted plans to adoption.  It is an issue which needs to be front and centre of consideration in the forthcoming Green Paper on Speeding the Planning System.

Thew West Berks local plan a few years ago was the first Auger of a 6 year examination.  5-6 year examinations, mostly in Green Belt areas have become the norm, especially in high pressure Green Belt Areas.

The 2004 system had binding inspectors reports as a key principle.  The Coalition kept this as long as local authorities were seen to promote modifications.  As legally ‘main’ modifications required consultation anyway this wasn’t such a big deal however significant savings could be achieved if either inspectors could propose changes or their could be informal round table drafting sessions at examinations.

A key shift has been rolling examinations – ending a ‘report’ coming from the blue finding a plan unsound.  Rather we now have a practice whereby a plan has an opportunity to undergo profound change to achieve soundness. A key problem with rolling examinations is their almost impenetrable nature to those not directly involved in the examination, having to piece together many letters to find out  where a plan examination is.  A simple reform would be for inspector to keep up to date an executive summary document which states the current status and phase of the examination with hyperlinks to all key documents and decisions.

Long examinations are due to fundamental shifts in housing numbers, requiring extra work to be done on Green Belt Reviews, HELAAS, SEA etc.  So long examinations are in part a symptom not a cause.

A stable medium term position for housing numbers will help.  The botched attempt to create a standard OAN system, now held together with sticking plasters, didn’t help.  Even so agreement needs to be reached on the employment + element.  The increasing realisation that this can only be done at the functional economic region level, together with the need for statements of common ground and that many authorities are not able to resolve their housing needs alone has led to a slew of joint strategic plans.  But these are new, under-resourced, often underskilled and underscoped and without strong governance or programme management.   These require a different kind of high level EIP, more similar to structure plans.  So far their weakness has been  consideration of reasonable alternatives, also apparent in many traditional plan examinations.

If inspectors/panels were appointed earlier, prior to preferred options stages, there could be informal round tables with key stakeholders on scoping the key reasonable alternative options.  If you are late to this game tough.  I would also suggest SEA consultants are rigorously independent and report directly to the inspector/panel; to avoid insinuation of partiality or smoked room deals over preferred options, which have proven particularly troublesome in Green Belt areas.

Legal change is needed to get around the problem that plans cannot be part sound.  If you agree that we are moving to a zoning and subdivision system it seems crazy that you can zone strategic site A simply because you also need strategic site B which needs extra work and consultation.

More radically we could move to a zone first examine later when their is time system (as per New Zealand).  If their is no reasonable alternative to some policies and sites their is no reason these cannot come forward earlier and examinations focus solely on the choice of alternatives.  The aim should be to make it quick and easy to modify plans with ‘no choice’ changes, such as over changes to the NPPF.

Finally I would suggest there is standard NPPG on Green Belt reviews.  Of which the PAS guidance is a starting point.    I do have doubts however about whether assessment by Green Belt purpose is the best of all possible approaches.  I would suggest instead an ‘openness scorecard’ relying more on standard SPAN guide methods, which would much more scientific.  I’m fed up with horrible examples like Grenoble Road (Oxon) where three rival Green Belt Reviews gave three different subjective Green Belt purpose assessments depending on the scale of review etc.   The methodology also needs to take account of the best option for compensation/enhancement of green belt objectives as per the Feb 2019 NPPF.




Health Impact Assessments for a few Dozen Dwellings – a total waste of time that should be squashed by MHCLG

One of the more heartening developments in Planning in recent years has been an increased awareness of health issues in the design and planning of urban areas.  This is nothing new of course planning in England was founded on public health concerns and it has always been a principal concern of urban design.

The World Health Organisation has been instrumental in promoting Health Impact Assessment of policy.  Policy that may be beneficial in one sphere may harm public health, so this is very sensible.  This has affected policy development in a number of countries and Public Health England has published a guide to HIA referring to ‘larger’ development’.

This is where the British Planning disease of proceduralism and lack of proportionality takes over.  Directors of Public Health in many local authorities have been nagging chief planners and heads of policies to include policies on HIA, or to do an HIA on a local plan, and many have just rolled over.

The impact on planning has been entirely negative, rather than mainstreaming health in key planning decisions it has made it a tick box exercise which in the vast majority of cases just adds to cost and does nothing to improve public health.

I have no problem of a systematic HIA of a development plan as long as it is wrapped up in a wider Integrated Impact Assessment to remove duplication with SEA etc.

I also have no problem with HIA of the very largest planning applications, especially when health issues have not fully been addressed in the local plan.

However development plans have had policies on compulsory HIA at application stage creep in.  For example in London for major development (defined in the London Plan as 30+ dwellings).  In Central Lincolnshire its 25+ dwellings, many more examples.

I’ve seen many of these HIAs, but all of them are simply tick box affairs involving the HUDU checklist, and showing very very tiny impacts on existing health services because of their scale.  This is tokenistic.  On very large strategic sites it is necessary to mainstream this work as schemes may well include health facilities or place large populations at risk (i.e. air pollution) but as such it should be part and parcel of the masterplanning process and not treated as a separate bureaucratic masterplanning exercise.   As a procedural exercise they are ususally completed by the planning consultants and not the designers anyway – so whats the point?

Notre Dame should use Transverse Laminated Timber and Glass, not Oak and Lead, in Rebuilding its Roof #NotreDame

T what extent should the rebuilding of Notre Dame’s Roof Trusses attempt to replicate blindly 12th century materials or to what extent should we make use of more modern techniques that mimic the original design’s surface appearance?

We are lucky that due to laser scanning we now precisely its appearance.  Violet le Duc in the 19th Century had no such advantage.  The stripping of gargoyles and statutory in the French revolution had no records kept in many cases.

To restore a building is not to maintain it, repair it or remake it: it is to re-establish it in a complete state which may never have existed at any given moment…The restoration had to involve not just the appearance of the monument, or the effect that it produced, but also its structure; it had to use the most efficient means to assure the long life of the building, including using more solid materials, used more wisely

Today he is sometimes accused of overrestoration.   Had he not restored Carcassone and had English Heritage been today in charge of restoration it would have been restored as a stabilised ruin even if that meant many towers being unsuitable.

But a stabilised ruin is no option for Notre Dame as it was for example at Coventry Cathedral.  It is both a national symbol, where Napoleon was crowned emperor, and an outstanding example of Gothic architecture, which France invented and le-duc commented was Frances national style. The Notre Dame we saw before the fire was a recreated of a severely damaged cathedral stripped of its statuary during the revolution and having lost its previous 13th century spire as it was unstable in the wind.  Le-duc essentially recreated a Gothic of the imagination, or more precisely of Vogtor Hugos imagination, as his novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame was an extended guidebook to how it appeared in the middle ages.  Led Duc rebuilt a larger and more stable spire.

Looking up at the trusses and ceiling of a Gothic cathedral they appear as stone, when in fact you see plaster beneath an oak beam structure topped with many tonnes of lead.  As we found at York and Windsor you cannot always replace like for like as the original masonry structure may have expanded with the heat and lack of a binding roof.

As Oak cannot be seen, is heavy, not fire resistant, and environmentally damaging.  Where are the 1,300 primeval mature oaks over 52 acres?   Certainly no longer France, and even if a patch were found deep in eastern Europe somewhere why not leave them in place.  Similarly lead.  Now we have far cheaper and lighter composite roofing materials, which no one would ever know the difference in seeing them from the ground.

Having just burned down why rebuild a roof in a location where it is hard to fight fire in a highly compustable material?

A more modern and cheaper, lighter and stronger material is TLT transverse laminated timer.  It chars not burns.  Studies support the counter-intuitive idea that charring produces an insulating layer that actually slows pyrolysis, making it advance predictably and sparing enough wood to pass two-hour fire-resistance tests. Being cpoisted from softwood it retains moisture and fire resistence, whereas 9 century old oak is tinder dry.  .  TLT, made of laminates of softwood and epoxy it is almost as strong as steel and far lighter.

Pieces of sawn timber are graded for strength, before being glued together
under pressure with the grain in the laminates running parallel to the
longitudinal axis of the section. Strength-reducing defects such as knots,
splits and sloping grain are randomly distributed throughout the component
allowing it to be designed to higher stresses than solid timber of the
same grade.

Use of modern materials raises the possibility of striking architectural interventions.  Many a gothic cathedral prior to electric lighting had stained glass windows replaced with clear glass.  Using TLT a roof can in effect be engineered as a curtain wall, a fully glass roof stairing up to heaven.

Macron wants the restoration done in 5 years.  Le Duc took 25.  Often the key constraint is craftsman.  But if your not using oak you dont need master craftsman.  You can and should build the wood in a factory.  A roof a parametric structure designed in Revit with a computer structural and fire resistance model.

Scruton Finally Fired from Better Buildings Commission


Sir Roger Scruton was fired as a Government adviser today over a series of ‘white supremacist’ remarks in a magazine interview.   

The academic, who advised the Government on housing policy, told theNew Statesman that Islamophobia was ‘a propaganda word invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to stop discussion of a major issue’.

In an attack on the government in Beijing, he claimed ‘each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing’.

And of claims Jewish billionaire George Soros wields too much influence over Europe he said: ‘Anybody who doesn’t think that there’s a Soros empire in Hungary has not observed the facts.’

Sir Roger also rejected claims of mounting extremism in Hungary as he said ‘the Hungarians were extremely alarmed by the sudden invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East’.

The Prime Minister faced immediate calls to fire him as a government official today.

Without hours, Government sources said: ‘Professor Sir Roger Scruton has been dismissed as Chairman of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission with immediate effect, following his unacceptable comments.’

Mrs May’s deputy official spokesman said: ‘These comments are deeply offensive and completely unacceptable.

‘It is right that he has been dismissed.’

Former Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘Yesterday, leading Conservatives rightly ask what they can do to reconnect to modern Britain.

‘Today, these bigoted remarks from the man they bizarrely appointed to advise them on housing.

‘How can Downing Street possibly keep Roger Scruton as a government adviser?’

The Prime Minister (pictured today at PMQs) faced immediate calls to fire him as a government official today.

Former Chancellor George Osborne condemned the 'bigoted' remarks and said Mrs May must sack Sir Roger immediately

Former Chancellor George Osborne condemned the ‘bigoted’ remarks and said Mrs May must sack Sir Roger immediately

Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler said: ‘These comments by Roger Scruton are despicable and invoke the language of white supremacists.

‘His claim that Islamophobia does not exist, a few weeks after the devastating attack in Christchurch, is extremely dangerous, and his defence of the prejudice stoked by Viktor Orban’s government in Hungary is appalling.

‘He should never have been appointed but the Government should have sacked him when his horrific comments about rape, homosexuality, Islamophobia and antisemitism came to light, and when his association with far-right, neo-fascist organisations was exposed.

‘Instead, they defended him, with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government praising him as ‘a very brave defender of free speech’.

‘Theresa May must sack Roger Scruton immediately. If she doesn’t, it will be further evidence that she is turning a blind eye to the deep-rooted prejudices and racist views in the Conservative Party, and will again signal that her government endorses these disgusting views.’

A No 10 spokesman said he had not seen the remarks but added: ‘He is an adviser on housing.

‘It does not sound like in these comments he was speaking for the Government.’

May faces racism storm over adviser Roger Scruton

Greater Manchester: No Legal Basis for Releasing Extra Green Belt Land for Targets Higher than SOAN @MayorofGM

What a mess the Ministry has got itself into ober the Greater Manchester Strategic Plan

A recap

They propose major Green Belt Release based on SOAN on 2014 base

After Protests Andy Burnham forces a rethink

However this could prejudice a housing deal based on original numbers

They propose using 2016 HH base but prevented from doing so by government policy

So they use 2014 HH formation + 2016 population baseline (government policy) significantly reducing Green Belt loss

The new NPPF requires Green belt loss to be fully justified

Their is no basis in caselaw or the new NPPF for proposing Green Belt loss on significantly higher than SOAN numbers.

Malthouse criticises proposed Green Belt loss in GM citing guidance on SHLAA from coalition government that is no longer in force stating Green Belt can be considered a policy constraint on OAN.

MCHLG withdraws housing deal saying numbers are too low.

So at the same time the government is saying the numbers in Greater Manchester are too high and too low,

Even by the standards of the ministry this is a total cluster f$$$k

I suspect the treasury is insisting doggedly the original housing deal is met to the letter.

What is worse the SOAN method affordability element is to blame assuming concealed households well move to jobs in unaffordable areas reducing houjsing need, despite no demographic evidence to back this up.  Were this element dropped the ooriginal numbers would be much closer to reality.





Manchester Loses Housing Package over lowered Housing Target

Place North West

The Government has told Greater Manchester that the City Region will no longer be receiving a £68m brownfield housing fund, following the reduction of housing targets included in the rewritten Spatial Framework.

The Outline Housing Package, agreed in 2017, included a land fund of up to £50m to support the remediation of brownfield land, £10.25m to deliver affordable homes at the Collyhurst estate, and £8m in capacity funding to support setting up a delivery team.

The money and powers were offered on the basis that Greater Manchester provides 227,200 homes over a 20-year period, a figure included in the previous draft of the GMSF and the Greater Manchester Industrial Strategy.

Following the rewrite of the GMSF, the figure has been reduced to 200,980 homes. It is understood that as this is 11% below the previous figure, the Government has written to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority confirming that the deal is no longer on the table.

Greater Manchester leaders, including Mayor Andy Burnham, have defended the change as a response to the reduction in Green Belt release in the plan, and have criticised Government for sending mixed messages about population estimates, and the level of autonomy each region should have to set its own targets.

Talking to Place North West during MIPIM, Burnham said that while civil servants had set “a hard line” that if Greater Manchester didn’t stick to the higher housing numbers it would lose the £68m funding, Housing Minister Kit Malthouse had then suggested it was wrong for Government to pressure local authorities to deliver specific targets.

Without the Housing Package, the City Region is still able to access funding from Homes England, which includes a £600m small sites fund to support councils and developers to release smaller sites.

According to the Housing the Powerhouse coalition of housebuilders and land promoters, which has consistently called for higher housing targets, the decision by Government is an opportunity for GM politicians to negotiate an “even better deal”.

Housing the Powerhouse spokesman Rob Loughenbury, of Lexington Communications, said: “The development industry supports the creation of a GM Plan, including the focus on promoting high quality, healthy and affordable communities.

“We also recognise the difficult political compromises that have had to be made. But we have consistently argued that the assessment of overall housing need is not aligned with the Combined Authority’s more ambitious statements about economic growth. It would be a shame and a significant backwards step if Greater Manchester has lost its £68m brownfield housing package as a result of this.

“If the housing deal is no longer on the table, Greater Manchester must rise to the challenge of negotiating a fresh housing package that reflects its ambition to tackle the housing crisis and support the growth of a global city. The question of overall housing need should be revisited, along with whether the right mixture of homes is planned to meet the aspirations of residents.”

Canada release all its building footprints as open source so why cant @ordnanceSurvey


Digital transformation is providing organizations with not only information that was never thought possible, but information that is accessible and usable. Data is the foundational resource that allows organizations to transform and uncover the insights they need to make smart decisions.

And this transformation is no different when the organization is the Government of Canada.

In July of 2018, StatsCan and Microsoft collaborated in order to tackle a unique challenge for our vast country. Together, by leveraging AI, they developed a solution that will help all Canadians.

Using’s StatsCan’s Open Database of Buildings which is generated from municipal open databases, along with satellite and aerial imagery, coupled with Bing Maps’ significant investments in the areas of deep learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence, Microsoft is strengthening Canada’s census with smart data and a better understanding of where people live. This is done by mapping the footprints of every building in the country. We are releasing more than 12 million building footprints in Canada to the OpenStreetMap community.

When you know where the buildings are, you know where the people are. Accounting for this has always been a great challenge for governments, as well as humanitarian efforts and philanthropic initiatives. By putting people on the map, everyone can have access to services that we can sometimes take for granted.

As open data, the map of building footprints will be available to all Canadians looking to better understand their country. Building Footprints allows for integrating open data from municipal, regional, and provincial governments to meet the needs of official statistics. A better understanding will allow for better decision making across all sectors, both private and public.

Microsoft Building Footprints is more than simply outlining the buildings that exist along the roads on a map. These building footprints identify the buildings you didn’t know were there, on the roads and pathways that don’t appear on maps and don’t connect to any known road networks. By using satellite and aerial imagery, Microsoft was able to look for the stuff that maps didn’t know existed. And by relying on imagery that is constantly being updated, new construction is quickly added to the database, unlike traditional mapping that will never catch up as new shovels hit the ground every day across the country.

In order to identify every single building in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, through machine learning, the solution was able to identify shapes, learn which were buildings and then convert everything to geometry data that is easily processible for geography applications. Canada is only the second country where Microsoft has undertaken this initiative after the U.S. and the machine had to relearn and adjust for Canada’s vast rural, agricultural and differing landscape and biomes. With adjustments along the way, the whole process took approximately four months to map every building.

Now that it is live and open to everyone, we are proud to have been part of this massive open data initiative that helps Canadians and ensures that everyone is counted. And we are excited to see what happens next as governments, businesses, NGOs and academic institutions take advantage of what we have learned.


Government Responds to Thames Estuary Growth Commission Report


we are now looking to local partners; from local authorities, Local Enterprise
Partnerships, universities, businesses and civil society, to realise this vision and see the Thames Estuary stepping up to deliver well-balanced, inclusive growth on a scale
comparable to the Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse and Oxford-Cambridge Arc

James Brokenshire

In same breath, one more step closer to national planning.

It commits to a strategic Thames Estuary Growth Board and a ministerial champion.

We are publicly committing to exploring the potential for at least two new locally-led development corporations in the Thames Estuary. We will work collaboratively with places to create thriving communities where people want to live and work, to deliver high-quality, popular and well-designed places to live.

I know of two areas in South Essex that have been exploring this.

The government announced at Budget 2018 that it is supporting a study to develop
options and consult the local area on a Great Thames Park.15 This forthcoming natural capital analysis will assess the options to maximise the socio-economic and cultural value of the area’s natural assets, including creating a park for communities to enjoy.
We also recognise the importance of showcasing the many benefits of natural capital to the community and making sure that all developments deliver environmental net gain.

It rights rules out a Lower Thames Barrier

Thames East Line
The Commission set out how government should consider a multi-modal crossing as
part of its planning for the next Thames Barrier.
We support maximising benefits from large-scale infrastructure and recognise that
consideration of a multi-modal replacement Thames Barrier brings opportunities.
However, the location proposed by the Commission is not one the Environment Agency would currently consider due to extensive investigations of navigation, flood risk, existing infrastructure, and environmental requirements which limit the feasible locations for areplacement barrier to two sites.
Based on current sea level rise estimates, the Environment Agency expect a future
barrier would need to be operational by 2070. Delivering a replacement Thames Barrier by 2050 is significantly earlier than the timeframe set out in the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan and is not supported by the current business case for the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan. This remains subject to regular review by the Environment Agency.

But no consideration of a more feasible Kent-Essex Link perhaps tunneled parallel to the Lower Thames Crossing.

How much overspill from London – a total fudge.

Government expects all local authorities to plan for the number of homes required to meet need in their area. We would encourage cooperation between the London boroughs and neighbouring authorities in Kent and Essex and welcome further engagement with those places, including with groups of London boroughs, in exploring how we might support them to plan for and deliver significant increases in the provision of homes.

On joint Spatial Plans

Government welcomes the Commission’s recommendations in encouraging more joint
planning between local authorities in Kent and in Essex. The government welcomes
joint planning to help coordinate solutions to cross-boundary issues, to use strategic
level planning to meet the national challenge of delivering more homes in a more
integrated way, whilst also grasping the opportunity to use precious resources more
efficiently in the process. To achieve this, we have strengthened the National Planning
Policy Framework to emphasise greater cooperation between local authorities and
outlined our ambitions to encourage more joint planning, particularly through work on
housing deals.
We recognise that in some places across the Estuary, this is already happening and
are encouraged by progress in South Essex, wherein six local planning authorities and Essex County Council have agreed to produce a Joint Statutory Spatial Plan. The joint planning work being undertaken by the Estuary partners in South Essex is moving
forward at an ambitious pace, with a statement of common ground and revised Local Development Schemes for each of the authorities. The Joint Statutory Spatial Plan will set out the areas overarching spatial strategy, housing target and distribution, strategic development and employment opportunity areas and key transport and other infrastructure priorities. Along with housing and employment, the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan aims to plan for and deliver large scale infrastructure that will permit long term growth for the region.

Geography is not always easily defined across the area outlined in the
Commission’s report. Government supports joint planning arrangements as defined by local partners and stands ready to offer support to places seeking to engage in
developing compelling proposals which support housing growth over the longer term.
These proposals or joint working arrangements should not be limited by the geography of the Estuary and we would encourage cross boundary working.

No its not going well.  Its at least 4 months behind schedule.  The area is densely populated and 100% Green Belt.  The needs can only be me through large new settlements linked to new infrastructure.

On roads

The A127 is a key route for Essex linking London with Basildon and Southend and
Rochford. In Basildon, the A127 corridor is home to one of the largest single
concentrations of advanced manufacturing companies in the South of England. The
corridor makes substantial contributions to the prosperity of the South East Local
Enterprise Partnership area and offers considerable growth prospects. The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has secured over £41 million towards improvements to the road.

This 41 million is just for feasibility work which shows the necessary scale of works needed to the A127, this includes the feasibility of bypassing Basildon to the Noth and bypassing/extending the A127 to the East of Southend/Shoeburyness.

It rejects a Lower Thames Multimodal Crossing

At the scoping stage of the Lower Thames Crossing project, the Department for
Transport re-examined the potential for a multi-modal crossing. We are confident that the project, as currently scoped, is taking forward the best overall option. Transport demands do change over time due to a number of factors such as growth and housing, and as part of normal planning, the Department for Transport continues to look at emerging future transport trends to ensure we have robust strategies and future investment plans in place.
The Commission has also suggested that a future Thames East flood barrier could
provide the opportunity for a multi-modal transport crossing (see section above).
Transport demands do change over time, and as part of normal planning, the
Department for Transport would consider the opportunity for synergy with any identified transport investment needs at the appropriate time. However, the department’s current focus remains on taking forward the Lower Thames Crossing, in line with Highways England’s consultation launched in October 2018. The cost of a new rail link could be expected to be high and any new investment proposal would need to offer value for money and be technically feasible.

This is narrow thinking.  The scoping was well in advance of joint planning and determination of scale of housing need was established.  A multimodal crossing could support 2-4 large garden town developments north and south of the Tames.  Making these road based as opposed to zero carbon would be the greatest missed planning opportunity of the early 21th C.

So overall much the same problems as Thames Gateway a focus on projects rather than joined up land use and transport planning at the strategic scale with opportunities missed for co-planned infrastructure to achievea shift in development forms and transport patterns.  Same old failure, some old reactivity, same old sprawl.



The MHCLG Design Manual Sorted

MHCLG tenders for ‘visual design manual’ to support revised PPG

This is good so good you wont need planning permission




Remember just how much of your rear garden you can concrete over.


Threat of earthquakes need not preclude permitted development


In rare event planning permission is needed the better buildings commission has some advice for your front garden


Beds in cowsheds – not a problem – but check those pesky rules about dutch barns


Make sure you meet minimum parking standards


But make sure you protect the Green Belt (reproduced with permission from the Daily telegraph Green Belt Library)





Room Size Standards to Be introduced for Office to Resi PD – Ministerial Statement


Planning: independent report on build out rates and permitted development

At Autumn Budget 2017 the Government announced an independent review, chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, to examine the significant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned, and make recommendations for closing it. I sincerely thank Sir Oliver and his panel for their hard work over the 12 months that followed.

Sir Oliver’s draft analysis, published in June 2018, took an in-depth look at the rate of housing delivery on a number of large sites in high pressure areas around the country. He concluded that the binding constraint on housebuilding rates once implementable planning permission had been granted was the ‘absorption rate’ – meaning that homes are built at the rate at which housebuilders believe they can be sold at their target prices. Importantly, the Review found no evidence that speculative land banking is part of the business model for major house builders. I note that there has been widespread acceptance of Sir Oliver’s analysis across the sector and a consensus has emerged that it is the market absorption rate that determines the rate at which developers build out large sites.

Sir Oliver’s final report, published alongside Autumn Budget last year, concluded that greater differentiation in the types, tenures and design of housing delivered on large sites would increase the market absorption rates of new homes.

I welcome Sir Oliver’s support for greater emphasis on housing diversification within the planning system. The revised National Planning Policy Framework has already embedded a requirement for a greater mix of housing; it explicitly requires a mix of size, type and tenure of housing that reflects the diverse needs of local communities. My department is also committed to improving the design of new development. The purpose of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission is to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places, and I look forward to their final report later this year. My department also has a number of funding programmes specifically designed to support a more diversified housing market, such as the Home Building Fund.

As confirmed in Spring Statement, my department will shortly publish additional planning guidance on housing diversification – to further encourage large sites to support a diverse range of housing needs, and help them build out more quickly.

I note Sir Oliver’s recommendations that authorities should further capture land value uplift by insisting on specific levels of greater housing diversification – and also note that many in the housing-building industry are sceptical of this approach. I agree with the principle that the costs of increased housing diversification should be funded through reductions in residual land values. The Government is committed to improving the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms of land value capture, making them more certain and transparent for all developments. My focus is on evolving the existing system of developer contributions to make them more transparent, efficient and accountable and my department is gathering evidence to explore the case for further reform.

I will keep the need for further interventions to support housing diversification and faster build out, including amendments to primary legislation, under review. My department will also work closely with Homes England to identify suitable sites and will look for opportunities to support local authorities to further diversify their large sites. Once again, I am very grateful to Sir Oliver and his panel for their important analysis and recommendations, and for their hard work over the course of the Review.

My priority now is to ensure faster decision-making within the planning system. My department will publish an Accelerated Planning Green Paper later this year that will discuss how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process. This Paper will also draw on the Rosewell Review, which made recommendations to reduce the time taken to conclude planning appeal inquiries, whilst maintaining the quality of decisions. I will also consider the case for further reforms to the compulsory purchase regime, in line with our manifesto commitment.

Permitted Development Rights

The consultation, Planning Reform: Supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homesclosed on 14 January 2019. As confirmed in the Spring Statement it is our intention to bring forward a range of reforms. To support the high street we intend to introduce additional flexibilities for businesses. This will be to amend the shops use class to ensure it captures current and future retail models, which will include clarification on the ability of (A) use classes to diversify and incorporate ancillary uses without undermining the amenity of the area, to introduce a new permitted development right to allow shops (A1), financial and professional services (A2), hot food takeaways (A5), betting shops, pay day loan shop and launderettes to change use to an office (B1) and to allow hot food takeaways (A5) to change to residential use (C3). Additionally, to give businesses sufficient time to test the market with innovative business ideas we will extend the existing right that allows the temporary change of use of buildings from 2 to 3 years and enable more community uses to take advantage of this temporary right, enabling such premises to more easily locate on the high street. I will also shortly publish “Better Planning for High Streets”. This will set out tools to support local planning authorities in reshaping their high streets to create prosperous communities, particularly through the use of compulsory purchase, local development orders and other innovative tools.

We will take forward a permitted development right to extend upwards certain existing buildings in commercial and residential use to deliver additional homes, engaging with interested parties on design and technical details. We would want any right to deliver new homes to respect the design of the existing streetscape, while ensuring that the amenity of neighbours is considered. We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwellinghouses and to introduce a proportionate fee. I do not intend to extend the time-limited right for change of use from storage to residential. This right will lapse on 10 June 2019. Alongside I intend to review permitted development rights for conversion of buildings to residential use in respect of the quality standard of homes delivered. We will continue to consider the design of a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes. We will also develop a ‘Future Homes Standard’ for all new homes through a consultation in 2019 with a view, subject to consultation, to introducing the standard by 2025.

Finally, we intend to remove the permitted development right and associated advertising deemed consent in respect of new telephone kiosks, reflecting that mobile technology has changed the way people access telephone services since the right was introduced in 1985; amend the existing right to install off-street electric vehicle charging points to allow for taller charging upstands to address advances in rapid charging technology; and will look to bring forward a draft listed building consent order which will grant a general listed building consent for works to listed waterway structures owned, controlled or managed by the Canal & River Trust.

I intend to implement an immediate package of permitted development right measures in the spring, with the more complex matters, including on upward extensions, covered in a further package of regulations in the autumn.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1374