Jane Everton, Deputy Director at the DCLG Addresses 2015 Planning Briefing
With housing issues such as affordability and availability high on the national agenda, Manchester based planning specialists HOW Planning, along with Regeneris Consulting and Nabarro, invited Jane Everton CBE, Deputy Director, Planning Economy & Society at the DCLG to address delegates at the 2015 Planning Briefing; a timely opportunity to discuss the recently launched Housing & Planning Bill.
The Briefing, which was held at Alderley Park Conference Centre on Friday 16th October, was attended by 180 delegates from throughout the North of England and was a chance for developers, land owners, house builders and planning officers to hear from some of the country’s leading experts.
Jane Everton took the opportunity to talk about the new Housing & Planning Bill, published only a few days prior to the event. She highlighted importance of planning within the wider housing agenda and commented: “The opportunity to speak at this year’s Planning Briefing was ideal timing. It allowed me to address a perfect audience and discuss some very recent changes.
“The new Conservative Government has laid down a clear manifesto outlining a strong commitment to the delivery of new homes and the new Bill outlines how it aims to deliver on these commitments. Planning is once again centre stage nationally, enhanced by recent high profile announcements by both the Prime Minister and Chancellor.
“There is a huge ambition for starter homes, with the figure doubled by the new Conservative Government from 100,000 to 200,000 per year by 2020; a figure which is backed up by a commitment to ensure 90% of sustainable brownfield sites have planning permission for new housing in the same time period. ”
Delegates heard from Eamon Boylan, Chief Executive of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council who commented on regional housing issues as part of his wider presentation on ‘Planning and Devolution – the Greater Manchester Picture’: “In Greater Manchester we have our own challenge to meet a target of 220,000 new homes over the next 20 years so there is a critical need to identify land to meet development aspirations.
“We need to maximise existing land supply, increase densities and improve mechanisms for bringing brownfield land forward for development. By working in collaboration I’m confident that the Greater Manchester Spatial Strategy will deliver on its aims.”
Delegates attending this year’s biennial event also heard from Christopher Katkowski QC of Landmark Chambers, who spoke about some of the top legal cases this year; Nigel McGurk, Director Erimax – Land, Planning and Communities who covered the challenges and opportunities posed by Neighbourhood planning; and Christopher Bowes, Partner at Nabarro who provided details about the latest proposals for simplifying and speeding up planning.
Stephen Nicol of at Regeneris Consulting addressed the issue of Housing Need: “Since the publication of NPPF, Regeneris have been in the thick of the debate about how to assess Objectively Assessed Need for housing. Although national guidance has been produced on how to assess housing need, there have been extremely wide interpretations of what this means in practice.
“This has led to a plethora of approaches and a wide range of numbers as a consequence. However, gradually decisions by Inspectors and to some extent the Courts are beginning to narrow down the range of interpretations and a good practice industry approach is beginning to emerge as outlined by our speakers today”.
The event was chaired by HOW’s Managing Partner, Gary Halman who said: “It has been fantastic to hear from the speakers today, all of whom are closely associated with the changes that are taking place. It is also good to hear that planning is playing a crucial role in the housing agenda and I’m sure our delegates will agree that the topics discussed will help inform and influence their work as we move forward.”