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RTPI calls for action on housing

Words: Laura Edgar
Homes / iStock_000020788340

The RTPI has called on chancellor Philip Hammond to use the Autumn Budget to act on the government’s promises to address the housing crisis with ‘substantial actions’.

The institute’s chief executive Trudi Elliott said that although the housing crisis can feel “insurmountable”, there has been progress in some areas.

“There is a new atmosphere of urgency around housing. The Grenfell Tragedy has brought new attention to social housing. Housing was also at the centre of the recent party conferences. Now we need substantial actions to follow this interest.

“We hope to see major proposals in the Budget – anything less will not be enough to address this crisis.”

Ahead of last year’s Autumn Statement, the institute published 16 recommendations for tackling England’s housing crisis. Now, the RTPI has revisited those recommendations to see what has changed and what remains to be done.

These include:

  • Offer ready permitted sites to SME builders

Increasing the diversity of the housebuilding market is still crucial and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are still nowhere near their pre-crash levels. The government’s housing white paper, published in February, highlighted £1 billion for SMEs through the Home Building Fund among a range of measures. Following the introduction of a requirement in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 for local authorities to maintain a small sites register, the RTPI has also been guiding the Right to Build Taskforce, which aims to help custom and self-build develop.

  • Let Local Authorities charge the planning fees they need

The housing white paper proposed a 20 per cent rise in planning fees by July 2017, with an additional 20 per cent for authorities delivering substantial numbers of homes. The legislation for this was introduced in October and should be in place by the end of the year.

The RTPI is commencing research on the resourcing of local planning authorities in north-west and south-east England, following up on its 2015 research in Investing in Delivery.

  • Encourage innovation in climate change mitigation

In the coming year the RTPI will release a lot of material on planning and climate change mitigation. This will include guidance on planning for climate changes and on renewable energy, as well as an account of the evidence linking different settlement patterns to greenhouse gas emissions.

More detail on the RTPI’s 16 ways can be found on the institute’s website.

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