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RTPI evidence features strongly in Commons housing report

02 May 2017

Many RTPI ideas were mentioned explicitly in a recent Parliamentary Select Committee report on housebuilding and were reflected in a number of recommendations.

The Committee acknowledged that the reduced resources of planning departments are a factor in many of the challenges identified. It went on to say: “We welcome the work of the RTPI in encouraging more people to pursue a career in planning and the 1,300 planning graduates that are produced by the UK universities that it accredits. However the status of planning needs to improve to ensure that these graduates are recruited and supported.”

“We welcome the work of the RTPI in encouraging more people to pursue a career in planning and the 1,300 planning graduates that are produced by the UK universities that it accredits. 

Committee calls on leaders to value planning

It cited the RTPI’s evidence on the scale of capacity reductions and called on those in charge of local authorities to protect and value planning:

“The role of planning is fundamental to the success of communities, and council leaders and chief executives must show leadership and support to recognise this and empower innovation by planners. Local authorities must show a commitment to the planning function and ensure there are incentives and support in place for employees that are seeking further training and formal planning qualifications, such as those facilitated by the RTPI."

Published on 29 April, the report called on the Government to support small and medium builders and ensure local authorities have the tools they need to make an effective contribution to solving the housing crisis – ideas long advocated by the Institute.

“The role of planning is fundamental to the success of communities, and council leaders and chief executives must show leadership and support to recognise this and empower innovation by planners.

But the Committee also made it clear that increasing the number of small sites should not come at the expense of developer contributions on large sites and that the Community Infrastructure Levy needs reform.  

Richard Blyth, RTPI head of policy, told the Committee: “…it is often harder to do (infrastructure) if you have a spray of smaller sites than if you have one big one, despite the problems with big sites that we have mentioned….I am not convinced that the Community Infrastructure Levy is terribly effective at filling those gaps. On the large sites there have been some very impressive deliveries of infrastructure, which have come as a consequence of economies of scale.”

Location of Development: a key plank of evidence

The Committee shared the Institute’s concerns for developments in bad locations, citing evidence provided in the RTPI research "Location of Development" that was launched in 2016.

Location of development: Mapping planning permissions for housing in twelve English city-regions, is the largest study of its kind, mapping over 165,000 homes granted planning permission across 12 English towns and cities between 2012 and 2015. It reveals that almost 75% were within reach of major employment opportunities, but only 13% were within easy walking distance of a railway station.