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23/03/2016

Planning policy changes ‘need to be monitored’ – RTPI

Words: Laura Edgar
Bournemouth

An RTPI report warns the government that it needs to monitor the “effectiveness of changes” to national planning policy to ensure that homes are built in the right places.

New homes should, according to The Location Of Development (pdf), be close to jobs and supported by infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and sustainable transport.

The report, carried out on behalf of the RTPI by Bilfinger GVA, follows announcements made by chancellor George Osborne in the Budget 2016, in which a number of housing and infrastructure measures were outlined.

The 12 city-regions:

Cambridge

Brighton

Oxford

Bournemouth

Bristol

Plymouth

Coventry

Nottingham

Newcastle

Blackburn

Warrington

Leeds

It maps more than 165,000 new homes granted planning permission across 12 English towns and city between 2012 and 2015. According to the report, analysis of their location suggests that almost 75 per cent were within reach of major employment opportunities, but only 13 per cent within easy walking distance of a railway station.

The maps, data and analysis in the report, it states, represent a “first step towards a better understanding of the spatial relationships between patterns of housing growth, infrastructure provision and employment clusters at the city-region scale”.

Phil Williams, president of the RTPI, said: “With the government devolving powers to towns and cities, we need to ensure that housing, employment and infrastructure is properly coordinated to deliver sustainable growth. Our research scrutinised over 700 housing schemes and while it is encouraging that the majority of new homes are currently being built close to jobs, many are not.

“Many growing areas already suffer from congestion and lack of infrastructure capacity and poorly located housing would make these problems worse. Given the current need to increase housing supply, we think it is crucial to monitor these trends and make sure that new housing is built in the right places.”

Joanna Averley, director of planning, development and regeneration, Bilfinger GVA, added: "The study provides an important contribution to the debate about the scale of development and location of new homes in the English city-regions. Within the limits of the methodology, it indicates which cities are notably responding to the economic growth in their wider catchment area.”

It is hoped that by putting the data and analysis out there, a broader debate around the monitoring of the effectiveness of planning policy is encouraged, as well as the consideration of “spatial patterns of development that we would like to see in our towns and cities”.

The research was limited to the relationship between homes, employment and rail, metro or tram stations, but, said Williams, there are many other factors that contribute to the sustainability of a location that also need to be taken into account.

The location of development can be found here (pdf).

Image credit | Shuttershock

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