How Gove might shake up housing need assessments

Comments by the secretary of state at a select committee appearance last week indicate an impending overhaul of the way local housing need is currently assessed, say practitioners, which is likely to allow councils more control over their homes requirements and a ditching of proposed ‘top-down’ targets.

Former Policy Exchange director lands MHCLG ministerial post

Neil O’Brien MP, a former director of the Policy Exchange think tank who describes “reforming” the planning system as one of his priorities, has been appointed to a new junior ministerial post at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

‘Targeted’ Article 4 directions and compulsory purchase in government plan to revive high streets

The government has stressed that councils will still be able to use Article 4 directions to block the new commercial-residential permitted development rights “if they are targeted, well-evidenced and apply to the smallest area possible”, as part of a new town centres policy document which also includes measures to boost the use of compulsory purchase powers and moves to use the planning system to tackle littering.

The challenges raised by the impending introduction of First Homes

Revised planning policies requiring a new form of affordable housing come into force at the end of this month. Local authority groups are worried that the new First Homes transitional arrangements could cause plan-making and decision-making delays, while some developer bodies suggest that applicants will seek to get their proposals determined before the requirement kicks in.