While responsibility for fire safety does not lie with the planning system, planning committee members are nevertheless seeking extra assurances from applicants that tall building proposals are safe following last week's horrific blaze at the Grenfell Tower in west London.1 comment
Alok Sharma may be a largely unknown quantity in planning circles, but some clues can be gleaned from his past record as to how he will approach the role of housing and planning minister.
The government has pledged to take forward a series of commitments in the Housing White Paper, but documents published alongside this week's Queen's Speech suggest that the action will be confined to non-legislative changes.
Sajid Javid will keep the housing delivery bandwagon rolling but Gavin Barwell's new posting at the heart of government may be even more influential in the long run, experts speculate.
The result of the snap general election, which has left Britain with a hung Parliament, is likely to mean that the next government will be required to build consensus in order to drive through changes to the planning system, experts have said.
A number of parliamentary candidates are signed up to increasing housing development nationally, but are campaigning against development locally.
- Planning Officer Hastings Borough Council Hastings, East Sussex
- Area Development Manager (Outer) Norwich City Council Norwich, Norfolk
- Senior Compliance and Enforcement Officer Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Basingstoke, Hampshire
- Development Specialist Aylesbury Vale District Council Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
- Senior Planning Policy Officer Isle of Wight Council Newport, Isle of Wight
In purely practical terms, the hung Parliament is likely to make planning issues even more intractable.
Almost two-thirds of English local authorities say that the need for affordable housing in their areas is "severe", according to research published last week by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE), a local government network, and conducted by campaign group the Town and Country Planning Association.
Should the Conservatives win the general election, as the latest opinion polls suggest they will, the party's manifesto for 2017 will reset government policy.
It is easy to under-estimate the importance of political parties' general election manifestos. The Prime Minister's struggle this week to explain an apparent change of heart on a manifesto policy for funding social care at home, announced days after the document was published, was only the latest episode in which a political party has been seen to distance itself from pre-election policy commitments with unseemly haste.