As a newcomer to the housing and planning industry, there’s no surprise that I have more questions than answers. My experience thus far can be paralleled to that of an exhilarating immersion program where I not only have to assimilate to the culture, but also learn the complex language of planning.
On 7th June I took part in a 10k race, which considering the London Marathon was just a month before it may not seem like a great distance, but for someone who hung up his running shoes after school track and field days ended in 2010, was still a daunting thought.
On Tuesday 5th June we hosted a breakfast for developers and planning consultants in the Bristol area to discuss how councils and developers can work better together to deliver new homes for Bristol and the West of England. The lively discussion that ensued would be difficult to contain on one page but I have summarised some of the key points here.
Campaigners say plans to relax planning rules on certain types of land on the Green Belt will lead to too many expensive homes. In reality, building homes on any site is likely to lead to the delivery of more affordable homes – and that must be seen as a good thing.
Our newest recruit talks about her experience as a clerk on the parish council in West Essex and how encouraging council representatives to engage with developers and in turn with communities, can represent a chance to pool knowledge and help reassure people.
Those of us who work in the housing and planning industry shouldn’t be afraid to sell the benefits of new homes as a social good. Housing delivery is not only an urgent need it is also a mechanism through which infrastructure improvements can be secured.
A recent study indicated that almost a third of the British public now rank 'affordable housing' as one of their top three priorities to improve public life. Affordable housing was even placed ahead of other key issues such as crime, social care and economic growth (Kantar Public study 22/02/18).
If a week is a long time in politics, then 2014, when the council seats elected last night were last fought, seems like an entirely different epoch. Since then, British politics has witnessed two general elections, a seismic referendum, and the most unpredictable election results in living memory.
With only a week to go, the latest opinion poll for the local elections in London shows no let up for the Conservatives in the Capital, with a strong lead still enjoyed by Labour. Our Consultant Director, Frank Browne, shares his thoughts on what London may look like this time next week.
What is the point of an incredibly costly and complex public consultation exercise if it fails to help secure you planning permission? Our CEO Anna Sabine-Newlyn looks at the real purpose of public consultation in planning and how a technical approach can sometimes fail to reach the communities that will benefit most from development.
Following yesterday's post on how the upcoming elections might affect development in London we have a look at Labour's green paper: Homes for the Many, launched earlier today. With a focus on redefining "affordable" and building more council housing, this could have a significant impact on our 'failed' housing market.
Local elections will take place across London and parts of England on 3rd May. More Labour councillors are likely to be elected and, thanks to the influence of Momentum, they could well be more sceptical towards developers than before. While this could pose a more challenging planning landscape in the capital, developers who listen to local people, and reflect on what they say, will fare better throughout the planning process.
As the local elections approach, much of local government is now in the mysterious world of purdah. Despite also meaning a religious practice of screening women from men or a state of seclusion or secrecy, the meaning of purdah and the function of the council during this period is quite the contrary.
Our CEO Anna Sabine-Newlyn reflects on her first visit to MIPIM this year. She was pleasantly surprised to discover that it didn't quite live up to the hype on sleeze-factor but was potentially even more useful than expected.
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”.