When will starter homes and infrastructure be delivered under the new leadership

On Wednesday, 28th September SLR Consulting, Osborne Clarke and No5 Chambers held an autumn presentation and debate at Osborne Clarke Temple Quay offices in Bristol. The event focused on the on-going developments in planning and infrastructure and offered attendees an insight into the latest legislation and the impact that is having and will have on planning and infrastructure developments. The seminar attracted over 30 invited guests including developers, agents, housebuilders and architects.

The event was chaired by Sheila Twidle, former head of Environmental Services at the Planning Inspectorate who welcomed the attendees and spoke briefly on Brexit and what that may mean for the sector, the changes in government and their influence on processes and decision-making and how planning needs to remain central to managing change.

Neil Bromwich, a Partner, planning team lead and part of the wider real estate and infrastructure team at Osborne Clarke, spoke about national and regional infrastructure challenges, the new Neighbourhood Planning Bill 2016-17, and what efficiency changes that may bring, before moving on to speak about the Government consultation on further reform of the compulsory purchase system, and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2014/52/EU that is to be implemented in May 2017 under current legislation.

His colleague Richard Harding, an Associate in Osborne Clarke's planning team, who provides planning advice on all aspects of development, focused on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) since implementation, developments in housing policy with a particular focus on Starter Homes and their relationship with other forms of Affordable Housing and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Reform.

Tom Green, Technical Director at SLR Consulting, went on to define what is meant by infrastructure and why is it relevant to development, looking at both major infrastructure and Local Enterprise Partnerships and Zones. He discussed the Government’s drive for economic growth and how that relates to development and gave some excellent industry examples highlighting the benefits collaborative working to spread the burden of demand on infrastructure, in areas such as transport, energy and waste. This included some thoughts on what the future might look like with driver-less cars for example, and the rapidly changing influences technology may play in the way we plan for infrastructure.

The keynote speaker, Christopher Young, Barrister at No5 Chambers, went on to give some informed views on delivery within the current planning system and recent decisions relating to cases based on housing need arguments and duty to cooperate between authorities. He spoke of the lessons learnt from Neighbourhood Planning, in particular the importance of early engagement for developers and the need for greater scrutiny in the local decision-making process. He also spoke about the need for a return to a plan-led system and the recent moves towards greater intervention by the Secretary of State in planning matters. Christopher concluded with comments on the Government’s push for new settlement development and the implications of that for local development.

For further information on the services SLR can offer please contact Jonathan Reynolds or Tom Green.