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Planning: DLUHC Minister’s RIBA speech restates direction of travel



Drilling down to the Levelling Up agenda

Eddisons’ Planning Director, Kate Wood, comments on the latest speech by Rt Hon Michael Gove MP at RIBA’s HQ this week.

While the proposal for the establishment of a dedicated Cambridge Development Corporation was something new, the speech merely confirmed the Government’s direction of travel when it comes to planning: namely, there is a pledge to speed up the planning system and the delivery of housing, in particular.

These have been stated aims of the Government aired many times during consultation on the reforms to national planning policy - a pillar of the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill and on which the Minister gave the Government’s response on 19 December.

In identifying transgressing local authorities, the Minister said that the lack of a local plan leaves communities vulnerable to speculative development and [has risked] not delivering the economic growth and infrastructure they need.

Developers would always prefer to be working with allocated sites because speculative applications come at greater risk.

However, without the substantial resourcing and upgrading of local authority planning departments, it is difficult to see how new local plans and any development targets can be achieved at speed.

Eddisons in general and, in particular our Cambridge office, will be maintaining a watching brief over any of the planning reforms flagged-up in the speech because, in 2024 - or by January 2025 at the very latest - any new administration post-General Election, and of whatever political hue, might have different ideas.

Kate Wood is based in our Cambridge office and is director of planning.

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