Sir John Harman has launched the reports of the Local Housing Delivery Group's findings on viability and standards in housing development. Following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework, this cross industry collaborative work has two key outcomes:
1) Advice on viability testing local plans to help ensure we can increase the delivery of new homes to meet housing demand.
2) Recommendations on consolidation and simplification of the standards used in housing development.
John Silvester, Society Director and Spokesperson, who sat in on the initial meeting of the steering group led by Sir John Harman said "despite a lot of early wrangling a consensus of opinion has been reached on the final reports; it's a job well done."
Mike Holmes, Planning Officers Society Immediate Past President, who was the Society representative on the steering group said "I am pleased to commend these collaborative pieces of work to Planning Officers and the private sector as an example of how we can work together and develop guidance which will be of mutual benefit. The work on viability and local plans should enable the examination of the local plans coming forward since the publication of the NPPF to proceed more smoothly. Resources and expertise remains an issue for Society Members, but this guidance will assist an understanding of the issues. The consensus of approach on housing standards sends a clear message to the government that more can be done using the Building Regulations to achieve sustainable development.
Other POS reps were:
Sir John Harman at the launch of the review said "This Group demonstrates what can be achieved through the voluntary collaboration of the industry when addressing a key challenge - planning the further supply of new homes. I believe the resulting advice on viability will be invaluable for planning practitioners as they seek to balance sustainable development for local communities with realistic returns for landowners and developers.
"During the consultation process I have observed a willingness to collaborate and the convergence of opinion and I believe the review serves as a perfect example of how the industry can come together to take joint responsibility for delivering important advice. The implementation of some of the recommendations will require new resource and in some cases, new skills. I am pleased the LGA and HBF have agreed to work together to help their members put our recommendations into practice."
After attending the launch Graham Jones, Convenor of the Society's Infrastructure and CIL Topic Forum, remarked "While this is particularly directed at Local Plans testing I raised the question of whether the approach and principles are equally applicable to CIL charging schedules and the answer was a clear ‘yes'."