Reasons not to miss our northern housing event

We highlight five reasons to attend next week's Planning For Housing conference in Manchester.

Manchester: conference takes place on 28 February
Manchester: conference takes place on 28 February

Planning's Planning For Housing - Northern Edition conference returns to Manchester on Tuesday 28 February 2017. The event will bring together key players from the public and private sectors to discuss the big issues affecting planning for housing across the North and beyond.

Through panel discussions, practical breakout sessions and extended speaker Q&As, the conference will explore how the planning system can meet the growing demand for new homes in the areas they are needed most.

Here are five reasons to attend.

1. Hear from the chairman of the government's housing and regeneration agency on how it intends to help planning authorities, developers and social landlords to deliver more homes in the North. Homes and Communities Agency chair Sir Edward Lister, former London deputy mayor for planning, will make a keynote speech at the conference.

2. Listen to senior figures from local government explain how they expect various key aspects of planning policy to evolve in the North in the near future, including the government's controversial Starter Homes policy and local plan reform. Speakers will include Paul Beardmore, director of housing at Manchester City Council and Martin Waters, head of homes and communities at the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

At a session on changes to the local plan process, Mark Robinson, assistant director (planning and development) at Rochdale Borough Council and John Craig, forward planning, housing strategy and development manager at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, will be share their experiences and lessons learnt when putting together their respective local plans. Meanwhile, Andy Farrall, executive director, economic regeneration, growth and environment at Warrington Borough Council will share his insight on Starter Homes following the approval of a scheme of 1,100 homes, including 20 per cent as Starter Homes, in the borough.

3. Hear viability experts explain how the public and private sectors can agree a fair deal without halting development. Gilian Macinnes, planning and placemaking advisor at consultancy Gilian Macinnes Associates, and Philip Barnes, group land and planning director at housebuilder Barratt Developments Plc, will both speak at a session looking at viability and how best to approach the issue, including how councils can use clawback mechanisms to assist schemes' viability when market conditions are tough, while ensuring contributions increase if market conditions improve.

4. Gain insight from public land experts on how local authorities can use their property assets to take a more proactive role in delivering much-needed housing and hear from experts on when green belt release can be justified to provide new homes. In an afternoon breakout session, Stephen Hill, Atlas Northern Coordinator at the Homes and Communities Agency, will closely examine the challenges and solutions for planning authorities looking to start building council homes themselves or directly commissioning housebuilding, alongside an explanation of the tools local planning authorities have to help ensure that planning permissions are built out.

At another session, Andrew Marshall, planning and transport strategy manager, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, will speak about his experience in exploring possible green belt changes and his experience of the current use of government intervention powers linked to proposed green belt changes.

5. Understand how the devolution of planning powers from Westminster could affect prospects for housing delivery. A panel session featuring senior figures from Manchester, Newcastle and the Tees Valley will examine topics including what planning related powers are being devolved, how prospective city-regional mayors plan to use their new powers and whether new devolved planning powers could help or hinder the delivery of more homes.

With a devolution deal agreed for the area in October 2015, and mayoral elections due in May, the Tees Valley Combined Authority's Martin Waters will set out a detailed case study of its proposed mayoral development corporation powers, the establishment of a land commission and the devolution of housing funding. Audience members will be able to put their questions to the expert panel.

Key conference details

Planning for Housing - Northern Edition

When and where: 28 February 2017, The Lowry Hotel, Manchester Cost: £249 + VAT for public sector workers and £299 + VAT for private sector. Group discounts are available. Further details can be found here. 

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