On Friday the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, announced planning reforms that will allow planning permission to be granted automatically on many brownfield sites.
Global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan has responded – acknowledging that it is a positive step in the right direction, but warns of the risks of unchecked development overburdening areas which are not suitable for increased building and population density.
As an important next step, Broadway Malyan recommends the Government considers a city-region strategy – rethinking the relationship between our cities and their surrounding sub-regions to direct housebuilding where it is needed most.
The UK is the only advanced economy that does not have a city-region strategy – Broadway Malyan believes adopting this type of strategic planning is essential for the UK’s future sustainable growth and a key factor in solving the housing crisis.
James Rayner, Director of Masterplanning for Broadway Malyan, said:
"While the Chancellor’s announcement is welcome, there remains significant debate and concern about the delivery of sufficient housing. As well as delivering the quantity of housing we need, it is vital we consider the quality and locations of housing that will deliver sustainable and liveable communities in the long-term.
“The Government's announcement today on productivity is a significant and positive step to building essential housing. While, there are many brownfield sites across the UK in excellent locations, close to existing or proposed transport hubs, there are also many brownfield sites that are in inaccessible locations with poor infrastructure – unsuitable for rapid increases in population.
“To free up suitable land for housebuilding, we must consider sustainable locations – both brown and green – as part of the solution to the housing crisis.
Broadway Malyan recently published its ’50 Shades of Green Belt’ report, recommending the Governmentuses lower quality land labelled as ‘green belt’ for vital housing as part of a city-region strategy.
James Rayner continued: “Key to achieving this is the creation of a strategic city-region approach to development – the one major gap in the UK’s planning policy armoury.
“A strategic city-region approach remains an elusive part of the National Planning Policy Framework. Introducing this approach can help to ensure that new housing is not incrementally delivered and is instead directed to appropriate areas where it can be properly connected to transit and regeneration opportunities.
“The UK remains an exception in the advanced economies, in that it has turned away from a City-Region approach that can help bring together infrastructure, transit, employment, housing and leisure in a more comprehensive, strategic and sustainable way.”