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Housing Minister addresses Planning Inspectorate

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Recently appointed Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher, allayed fears about him not knowing anything about planning, infrastructure and the need for new and better homes in his speech to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Government built 241,000 homes last year, need to build another million by the end of this Parliament and by the middle of this decade they need to be building 300,000 homes every year.

Getting the chain moving 

The Planning Inspectorate had 24,000 cases last year with 18,000 planning decisions executed. Pincher praised their work and gave an example of a new housing development in Hertfordshire called PegasusLife that was turned down by the planning authority. On appeal, the inspector approved the development because of the quality of its architectural design and was subsequently shortlisted for a Housing Design Award and won the Inside Housing 2019 award for Best Older People’s Housing Development.

It isn’t just important to build new homes but to build homes for first-time buyers and for older people so that we get the chain moving. The inspector’s decision, in that instance, meant some good-quality, much-needed homes for elderly people were built.

It’s the Government’s responsibility to help speed up the planning system and make it more efficient and agile. In 2010 only 17 per cent of local authorities had local plans in place, now ten years on, 90 per cent of local authorities have plans.  The Government has injected £22 million into the Planning Delivery Fund to help local councils digitise their services and improve the design so that fewer applications end up on your desk at appeal.

National Design Guide 

More needs to be done to speed up the planning system and make it more efficient. Tools have been introduced to improve the quality of new-build homes like the National Design Guide and the National Model Design Code, both tools are gold standard and designed to encourage aesthetically pleasing designs which conform with the local environment.

By putting people at the heart of the planning process, and communities which want and respect development around them, we can make sure more planning decisions go through quickly without the need for an appeal.

Full speech

National Design Guide