The dreaded ‘V’ word - “Viability” - has entered the public consciousness in the last few months – and not in a good way. According to our Prime Minister, viability is the tool that “unscrupulous developers” abuse to “dodge their obligation to build homes local people can afford”.
Announcements today by the PM were supposed to revolutionise housing policy, particularly as it was only last month that Theresa May made it her ‘personal mission to build the homes this country needs’. However the new draft National Planning Policy Framework was underwhelming to say the least, let alone revolutionary.
Seven years ago the Government published the Localism Bill, announcing it would herald a major reversal of decades of centralisation and instead truly empower local government, communities and individuals to act on local priorities. Frank Browne reflects on whether the bill has achieved what it set out to do?
Twelve months ago, Mrs May was riding high with stratospheric polling numbers, expectations were high for the forthcoming local government elections and covert talks were discussing the pros and cons of a snap election to give her an improved majority as well as a proper mandate. Fast forward a year on...
MPC enjoyed a day of policy and planning at the BPF’s ‘Housing for my Generation’ conference on Tuesday. The focus of the day would be the thorny issue of how to deliver those 300,000 new homes needed per year. Gerard in our London office tells us about the discussions that ensued as well as providing some ideas of his own.
Culham is a village which lies just south of Abingdon in Oxfordshire, near the River Thames. A sleepy village of just 450 residents which has a history that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Though more recently it has been the focus of BBC Two’s brand-new TV show, debuting on 31st January.
The disparity in house prices between London and other cities in England is well documented and some recent research from the Financial Times illustrates just how much. Alan Gibbs has some suggestions as to how we might try to tackle this problem.
At last count there was an estimated UK total of 39 million social media users, and it is forecast that users on Twitter will total roughly 17.1 million users in the UK this year. This offers the opportunity to learn what key stakeholders and the community think, to engage with supporters, to monitor opposition and keep an eye on relevant policies. We look at other benefits social media can bring to the planning industry.
Everyone goes through stages in their career where different things become more and less important. Nearly 20 years into working life, flexibility is the thing I now value most, enabling me to enjoy and fulfil being an employee and a parent. Reading the usual start of year stuff about 2018 goals (which usually involve spending less time at work!), it struck me how lucky I am at MPC.
This week was an interesting week in politics and perhaps even more so with a nod to the property industry. In the Cabinet reshuffle, Secretary of State Sajid Javid retained his position but notably in a rebranded department named the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - with some now referring to as the catchy “MoHoCoLoGo”.
Engagement 2017 was the first conference of its kind to focus entirely on public engagement in the housing sector. Bringing together politicians, developers, campaigners and experts from other industries it provided a platform to discuss and explore the best ways of conducting pre-application engagement. Here are some of the key points from the opening plenary.
The draft London Plan was released yesterday and can be downloaded here. The consultation period will open on 4th December 2017 and all comments must be received by 2nd March 2018. We've highlighted some of the key points.
Christmas came early in Westminster today, with the Chancellor sprinkling largess across the United Kingdom, seeking to address significant pressure points in areas such as the NHS, Universal Credit and housing as well as seeking to tackle populist and important causes like single use plastic items, second homes and air quality.
As a newbie to the planning and development industry and a long-term village resident, I found that when asked what my job involves I get one general response: “why would you want to build even more houses?” This is an attitude heavily present in the rural, village areas I grew up in and now reside in, each village with its own culture and understandable love of the surrounding countryside.
I have recently purchased a new car. Rather like buying a new home, I had to put down a large deposit, I was able to choose which extras I wanted, and the colour of the paint and the seats, and I’m going to have to wait for a number of months before I will get the keys....
Designed to prevent coalescence between settlements and to minimise urban sprawl, the green belt has its place but without some relaxing of its limits it could just continue to drive house prices up and the young out.
In an era of localism, with local communities being encouraged to take more of a role in planning issues, wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could acknowledge that just as the architecture, planning or archaeological merits of a site might be partly about judgement, or based on finely balanced decisions, so too are the views of the public?
Our research into public attitudes to house building has proved invaluable in the consultations and campaigns we have devised over the last two years. However, we are now seeking to develop a more thorough understanding of how to engage groups most inclined to support housing and house building on a range of issues.
Avid listeners to the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning will have heard Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee, explaining how design is at the heart of opposition to new homes...
For thousands of 18 year olds across the country, today will be filled with excitement, anticipation, elation and for some disappointment. It’s A-Level results day, which has got us at MPC wondering how the next generation of planners and architects will attempt solve the UK’s ongoing housing crisis?
A pair of star-cross'd lovers, who I suspect are quite alike in dignity, were rumbled this week sharing an embrace across the political divide. In fair Oxford, where the pair were seen, did political grudge break to political unity?
The public’s confidence in new build homeownership has been shaken over recent months as the mainstream media have reported on the spiralling rates of ground rent charged to owners of leasehold properties. The Government has proposed to reform leasehold and has formally begun an eight-week consultation.