McVey pledges 'planning A-Team' to boost housebuilding

Reports that the housing minister Esther McVey has said that a "planning A-Team" will bring "the ethos of the Eighties TV commando unit to councils to encourage the building of more new homes" features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription) reports that McVey "will send a crack team of specialist planners, designers or ecologists into councils that are struggling to approve new developments and regeneration schemes". It adds that, "in a nod to the opening narration of the TV show about a unit sent to jail for a crime they did not commit," Ms McVey said yesterday in a speech: "It doesn’t matter if it’s boosting capacity or plugging gaps in labour and expertise, if you have a problem . . maybe you can hire, the planning A-team." Planning revealed last month how McVey made similar comments about a goverment 'A-team' to support council planning departments at the Tory party conference.

The Guardian reports that "the Grand Quarter of Leeds, a Georgian tower overlooking Bath, and a group of prefabricated Victorian lighthouses are at risk of being lost forever, according to the agency in charge of preserving England’s heritage". The paper says that the sites "are among hundreds that have been added to the Heritage at Risk register, meaning they are deemed by Historic England to be vulnerable to decay, neglect or inappropriate development".

The Times reports that "liquidators have been appointed to two companies within the property group founded by the Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud". The paper says that "KPMG has been appointed to oversee the liquidation of HAB Land and its subsidiary firm, HAB Land Finance".

The Times also reports that "Britain’s biggest housebuilder reported a resilient sales rate for the first 15 weeks of the new financial year, but the value of the homes it sells has dipped". The paper says that "Barratt Developments said that it had a forward order book of 12,963 homes, slightly up on the 12,903 it had on its books this time last year. The average price agreed for the homes it is due to build has fallen to £236,800 from about £243,900 last October."

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