Planning magazine reports that the Treasury late last month published its final view on the way the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will work. This confirmed a role for it in planning for housing which, combined with new powers to 'trump' some existing planning policy, could see it become influential in that area.
Michael Wilks, the POS NSIPs specialist, said: "The government is tiptoeing around a very big issue, which is that you can't take a view on infrastructure as a whole without knowing where the whole country is going."
The commission has said its first task will be to draw up a "vision" for the UK in 2050 against which to assess long-term infrastructure needs. Planning suggests that given it will be the only national public body with a planning remit, some suspect this document could end up becoming a de facto national plan.
If this happens POS's Wilks says the NIC's solely economic remit might not sit well with the planning system's broader aims of social, environment and economic sustainability. Furthermore, the reactive nature of the way it will plan for homes may not make it best placed to fulfil this role.