Housing Secretary unveils ‘infrastructure first’ approach – CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2020 | 12 March 2020

Today the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has unveiled initial housing proposals ahead of a promised white paper, including an ambition for an ‘infrastructure first’ approach to planning.

Read them here.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

Cllr Philip Atkins, housing and planning spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:

“The Housing Secretary’s ambition to move to an ‘infrastructure first approach’ to planning chimes with what many communities in county areas would like to see. More homes are being built – but we need to move away from simply planning by numbers to instead making sure that new developments do have access to the right amenities – both for existing and new residents.

“County councils play a key role in delivering the right homes in the right areas but a strengthened role in the process would help them to do even more. The reintroduction of strategic planning in counties with those councils working formally and closely with district local authorities, could help marry housing and infrastructure considerations for that area, whilst pinpointing where development should go over a larger geography. In spite of this, some of our member councils are engaged in strategic planning activity already and counties can help in delivering larger projects and schemes, and play a role as a convenor to bring all partners together to unlock development and infrastructure. Put simply, a strategic approach would reap more rewards.

“We urge the government to take the opportunity to review the developer contributions system in the white paper. This review, alongside changes to policies such as the New Homes Bonus, could help to ensure that they generate adequate funding to finance infrastructure in county areas.

“The government’s recognition that planning departments are currently under-resourced will be welcomed by unitary county authorities. We will engage in the white paper to ensure that the most effective means of resourcing planning are put forward are proposals.”