Report calls for new towns role for National Infrastructure Commission

The government's national infrastructure advisor should have its remit widened to 'shine a light on where new settlements are needed', a report has recommended.

New homes: report calls for better strategic level planning
New homes: report calls for better strategic level planning

The report, Disrupting the Housing Market, by the Localis think-tank, calls for a series of new towns in South East England as one of a raft of planning interventions to boost home ownership.

It says that the National Infrastructure Commission’s "remit should be widened to shine a light on where new settlements are needed and what state support each would require".

The report says that "London’s reach extends well beyond its borders, but there is little to no strategic direction for the planning and delivery of new homes to meet the city-region and wider area’s demand. Government should fill this gap".

It also says that local authorities, strategic authorities and housing and regeneration quango the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) "should work together to plan and deliver new settlements via local plans or development corporations".

Elsewhere, the report says that either the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) should be amended, "stipulating that unmet housing need represents exceptional circumstances in which green belt land, which local authorities deem inappropriately regulated, can be allocated for residential development"; or, councils should be "compelled to prepare, maintain and publish ‘yellowfield’ registers: land which does not meet the five purposes that green belt land serves".

The report also says that "in places where land ownership is necessary to drive forward delivery the state should purchase land either via planning freedoms schemes or reformed compulsory purchase powers".

Other measures mooted in the report include making some small sites easier to build on, and improving incentives for government departments to dispose of land.

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